Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheating On Tests

A coworkers mentioned to FLG that she felt that the recent revelations that teachers and school administrators had cheated on standardized tests to up their students' scores indicates that testing is doomed to fail. And this appears to be a relatively common conclusion among those who opposed standardized testing in schools.

This is, frankly, a stupid reason to stop testing. All tests matter to somebody; otherwise, why test? Consequently, there is an incentive to cheat on all tests. There are a whole host of controls that can be put in place to mitigate cheating by teachers and administrators. For example, teachers and administrators can be randomly shuffled to other schools in the district or even other districts during testing. That way teachers and administrators aren't proctoring their own students.

1 comment:

Withywindle said...

The bureaucracy needed to prevent cheating, which can itself be gamed, is part of the argument against such tests. Tests need to be simple and easily administered, and designed to be difficult to game, if they're worth doing -- a hat trick.

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