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: Melissa SalmanowitzWednesday, August 8, 2012 (desk)202.535.1096
Chancellor Henderson Releases Inspector General’s Report on Testing
Integrity in 2010
DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson today released the Office of InspectorGeneral (OIG) report on the 2010 DC CAS investigation. The report, requested by Henderson inMarch of 2011, found that there is no widespread cheating at DCPS, among other findings. The
report did confirm cheating at Noyes Education Campus. Henderson’s statement is as follows:
“Today, I received the report from Office of the Inspector General’s investigation into alleged
cheating on the 2010 DC CAS test. I am very grateful to the Office of the Inspector General forits hard work on this important investigation. Our team is in the process of reviewing thefindings and recommendations. While it will take some time for us to evaluate the full report,three findings are very clear.
“First, the report explicitly states that there is no evidence of widespread cheating at DCPS.
 This is consistent with all previous studies of DCPS results and confirms what I have long held tobe true. I expect that this study will put to rest claims about widespread wrong-doing.
“Second, the Inspector General’s investigation found there were definitive instances of testing
impropriety at Noyes Education Campus. It is disappointing that a handful of staff would thinkso little of their profession and of their students that they would do anything to compromiseresults. I am dismayed by the actions of these staff. And moreover, I am deeply saddened thattheir actions have compromised the integrity of our entire teaching corps and caused people toquestion the abilities of our 47,000 students. We employ the best teachers in the world. I amproud of them day after day, but the staff implicated in this report do not represent what westand for as a school system.
“Finally, the OIGs report provides thoughtful recommendations for improving test integrity at
DCPS. I am proud to say that we have already implemented many of these recommendationsduring our 2012 test administration. For example, on the 2012 DC CAS, we improved testmonitoring, engaged with a new investigative firm, and increased security around testingmaterials.
“DCPS will continue to improve testing protocols to ensure tha
t our data on student
performance is reliable and to hold our staff to the highest standards. The OIG’s report
confirms what we have long suspected: the vast majority of our staff did nothing wrong; our
Posted at 08:24 PM ET, 08/11/2012 The Washington Post
D.C. schools cheating report thin and biased
Now we know who did it. D.C. Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby has concluded his 16-monthprobe of cheating on the D.C. schools’ annual tests by saying that kids, not adults, made the
astonishing number of wrong-to-right erasures found on answer sheets.Never mind that testing companies, academic experts and veteran teachers say that students almostnever make more than one or two wrong-to-right erasures per test. Ignore the fact that in Atlanta,where there were similar volumes of erasures on 2009 tests, state investigators with subpoenapower found 178 principals and teachers had changed the answers.
DC schools chancellor Kaya Henderson (Matt McClain - The Washington Post)
After Willoughby’s investigators visitedonly one school, Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, he endorsed their conclusion that since theadults at that school seemed innocent of changing answers, none of the adults at dozens of otherschools with massive erasures could be guilty either.  The investigation is over,in part because
Willoughby, allegedly immune to influence from interested parties, let D.C. school chancellor KayaHenderson persuade him that schools she thought were great should not be examined.I had hoped Willoughby’s report would be thorough and independent, since that is what people insuch jobs are supposed to be. This thin, biased 14-page document fails egregiously on both counts.Henderson has not responded to my questions about her involvement in the probe. Deputy InspectorGeneral Blanche L. Bruce said “your assumptions and conclusions are incorrect.” She said heroffice’s conclusions relied “on the totality of all the evidence.”Noyes, the only school investigated, had 75 percent of its classrooms flagged by the testingcompany CTB/McGraw-Hill for unusual numbers of wrong-to-right erasures in 2008, followed by 81percent in 2009 and 80 percent in 2010, on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System tests. Atleast five Noyes classrooms had wrong-to-right erasure rates of more than 10 per child, while theD.C. average was less than two. (Disclosure: my wife Linda Mathews conceived and supervised aUSA Today investigation that revealed 103 D.C. schools had abnormally high erasure rates at leastonce from 2008 to 2010.)University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill testing expert Gregory Cizek, a consultant to the Atlantainvestigation, told me “nothing we know of” has ever caused such large groups of students tochange so many wrong answers to right. Massive erasing only occurs when “others do if for them,”he said. Yet the Inspector General’s report, quoting no erasure experts, concluded that the D.C. data, withoutspecific evidence of impropriety . . . was not a sufficient basis to conclude the erasures resultedfrom cheating.” His investigators interviewed 32 current and former staffers at Noyes and found justone former teacher willing to admit he or she helped some kids get the right answers on one test.At that point Willoughby let himself be swayed by a powerful official with a vested interest in hisconclusions. His investigators could have looked at J.O. Wilson Elementary School, where 93percent of classrooms were flagged for unusual erasures in 2008, 83 percent in 2009 and 100
percent in 2010. But the report said the investigators discounted those numbers because Hendersontold them that Wilson was a great school and “she does not consider a high number of erasures tobe an indication of a problem.”No other schools were visited, the report said, in part because Henderson “revealed no additionalevidence to corroborate the allegations.” Was gathering evidence Henderson’s job or Willoughby’s?D.C. administrators and teachers had an incentive to cheat. They won big bonuses for high testscores. Many were dismissed when scores failed to climb.Still, the Inspector General blamed the
students, who got nothing for a good score. The report noted a teacher said the tests were untimed,and students had many opportunities to change their answers. But how could they have been rightso often? The investigators didn’t bother to interview any students about that. None were asked if they
remembered making any changes on answer sheets that, when scored, were full of erasures.Investigators did not check Noyes students’ test scores in subsequent years to see if each continuedto perform at high levels when test security was tightened and erasures declined. That is what a real investigator who wanted to get at the truth would have done.By  Jay Mathews | 08:24 PM ET, 08/11/2012

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