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Waterbury CMT Investigative Report 9-13-11

Waterbury CMT Investigative Report 9-13-11

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Published by Republican-American
Connecticut Department of Education investigation shows testing irregularities during the Connecticut Mastery Tests at Waterbury's Hopeville Elementary School.
Connecticut Department of Education investigation shows testing irregularities during the Connecticut Mastery Tests at Waterbury's Hopeville Elementary School.

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Published by: Republican-American on Oct 25, 2011
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10/25/2011

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INVESTIGATIVEREPORT
forthe
CONNECTICUTSTATEDEPARTMENTOFEDUCATION
RegardingAllegationsofTestingIrregularitiesduringthe2011ConnecticutMasteryTestatHapevilleElementarySchool,WaterburyPublicSchools
September13,2011Preparedby:FrederickL.DorseySiegel,O'Connor,O'Donnell
&
Beck,P.C.150TrumbullStreetHartford,Connecticut06103
MANAGEMENTONLY
LASOR
&
EMPL..OYMENT
LAW
 
WaterburyCMTInvestigativeReportSiegel,O'Connor,O'Donnell&BeckP.C.September13,2011
I.
BACKGROUND
OnAugust2,2011,theStateDepartmentofEducation("SDE")retainedtheundersignedtoconductaninvestigationastowhetherandtowhatextenttestingirregularitiesoccurredduringthe2011administrationoftheConnecticutMasteryTest("GMT")atHapevilleElementarySchool("Hopeville")intheWaterburyPublicSchools("Waterbury"orthe"District").Specifically,theSDE,throughitsBureauofStudentAssessment,determinedthattheresultsofsuchtestingconductedinGrades3,4and5atHopevillewarrantedinvestigationtodeterminewhethertheresultswereinvalidduetocompromisedtestsecurityand/orbreachesintestingprocedures.TheSDE'sprimaryconcernoverthevalidityofthe2011HopevilleGMTresultswastheextremeriseinthesescorescomparedwithpreviousyears,aswellasthedisparitybetweensuchhighscoresandthescoresinotherWaterburyschools,inotherschooldistrictsinWaterbury'sDistrictReferenceGroup("DRG"),andthestatewideaverages.Inadditiontotheunusuallyhighscores,itappearedthatmanyofthecorrectmultiplechoiceresponsesthathadbeen"bubbledin"bystudentsintheiranswerbookletsshowederasuremarkschangingtoadifferentanswer.Remarkably,outofalloftheresponsesthathadbeenerasedandchangedtoadifferentanswer,thevastmajorityofchangesmadewerefromanincorrectanswertoacorrectone,representingastatisticalanomaly.Priortocommencinginterviewsofstaffandstudentsinvolvedinthe2011CMTadministrationatHopevilleandmembersoftheWaterburyAdministration,whicharedescribedindetailbelow,theSDEprovidedmewiththefollowinggeneralinformationabouttheCMT,aswellasspecificconcernsabouttheHopevilletestresults.
A.CMTBackgroundInformation
TheCMTisamandatorystatewideassessmentofpublicschoolstudentsthatincludestimedsubtestsinreading,writing,andmathematicsforeachgradelevelsubjecttotesting(currently,Grades3to8),aswellasanadditionalsubtestinsciencethatisadministeredonlytoGrades5and8.Thespecificsubtestsadministeredtoeachgradelevelare:DegreesofReadingPower,ReadingComprehension,DirectAssessmentofWriting,Editing&Revising,andMathematics.StudentssitfortheGMToveraseriesofdaysinMarchandparticipatein45-to70-minutetestsessions,withuptotwosessionsperdayandabreakbetweenthetwosessionsofatleastfifteenminutes.Onmultiplechoicequestions,studentsarerequiredto"bubblein"theirselectionsintheirtestbooklets.Foropen-endedquestions,studentsmustwriteouttheirresponsesinatestbooklet,usingcursiveormanuscripthandwriting.Theregulartestingproceduresvarydependingonthesubtestadministered.Generally,studentsarereadinstructionsbyaprofessionalstaffmemberwhoservesasaproctor.Theproctortheninstructsthestudentstobeginthetestandstartstokeeptime.Thestudentswhoarenotreceivingcontraryaccommodations
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WaterburyCMTInvestigativeReportSiegel,O'Connor,O'Donnell
&
BeckP.C.September13,2011duetodisabilitiesorEnglishlanguagelimitationsarethenresponsibleforsilentlyreadingeachitemandprovidingaresponse.Attheelementaryschoollevel,thestandardGMTproceduresrequirestudentstositforthetestsessionswiththeirregularclassroomteachers.Studentswhoaredisruptiveduringthetestingsessionareremovedfromtheclassroomandrequiredtotakethetestinanalternatesetting.Inaddition,studentswhoareabsentfromschoolonaregularlyscheduledtestdayarerequiredto"makeup"themissedsessions;alsodoneinsmallgroupsettings.StudentswithdisabilitieswhoaredeterminedtobeeligibleforaccommodationsduringtheGMTpursuanttotheIndividualswithDisabilitiesEducationAct("specialeducationstudents")orSection504oftheRehabilitationActof1973(,,504students"),andstudentswhoarenotproficientinEnglish,sometimesrequiretestinginsmallgroups.Additionaltestaccommodationsforsuchstudentsmayinclude,butarenotlimitedto,typedresponses,directionsand/ortestitemsreadoutloud,andextendedtimetocompletetesting.StudentperformanceontheGMTismeasuredbyplacingscoresintofivelevels,whichare,fromlowesttohighest,BelowBasic,Basic,Proficient,Goal,andAdvanced.
B.Hapeville2011
CMT
Scores
Forboththe2010and2011administrationsoftheGMT,HopevillescoreswerehigherthanthoseofotherWaterburyschools,aswellasthestatewideaverages.ScoresontheMathematicssubtestforallthreegradesinquestion(third,fourthandfifthgrades)atHopevillewereespeciallyhighin2011:Forthirdgrade,theaverageHopevillescorewas280,withanaverageof244fortherestoftheWaterburyPublicSchoolsand259asthestatewideaverage;forfourthgrade,the2011Hapevilleaveragewas306,whiletherestofWaterburyaveragedat245andthestatewideat268;forfifthgrade,the2011Hopevilleaveragewas327,withtheWaterburyandstatewideaveragesat255and273,respectively.Thesescoresresultshad100%ofthirdgradeHopevillestudentstestingatorabovetheproficientlevelinmathin2011.
(See,
DataAnalysisbySDE,attachedheretoasExhibit1.)
InaninitialinternalinvestigationconductedbytheWaterburyPublicSchools,the2010GMTscorestakenbythirdandfourthgradersatHopevillewascomparedtothe2011CMTscoresofthesamestudentpopulation,takenagainasfourthandfifthgraders,respectively.Thegainsbetweenthetwoyearswereenormous.Forexample,in2010,only37%ofHopevillefourthgradersscoredatorabovegoalinreading.Thissamegroupin2011,asfifthgraders,scoredgoalat100%,againof63%incomparingthetwoyears.
(See,
WaterburyBoardofEducationInvestigationReport,attachedheretoasExhibit2.)
(
\
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