Recent federal legislation institutionalizes this practice, requir-ing states to test elementary students each year, rate schools onthe basis of student performance,and intervenein schoolsthat donot make sufcient improvement.
Several prior studies suggestthat such accountability policies may be effective at raising stu-dent achievement [Richards and Sheu 1992; Grissmer, Flanagan,et al. 2000; Deere and Strayer 2001; Jacob 2002; Carnoy and Loeb2002; Hanushek and Raymond 2002]. At the same time, however,researchers have documented instances of manipulation, includ-ing documented shifts away from nontested areas or “teaching tothe test”[Kleinet al. 2002; Jacob 2002], and increasing placementin special education [Jacob 2002; Figlio and Getzler 2002; Cullenand Reback 2002].In this paper we explore a very different mechanism forinating test scores:outright cheating on the part of teachersandadministrators.
As incentives for high test scores increase, un-scrupulous teachers may be more likely to engage in a range of illicit activities, including changing student responses on answersheets, providing correct answers to students, or obtaining copiesof an exam illegitimately prior to the test date and teachingstudents using knowledge of the precise exam questions.
Whilesuch allegations may seem far-fetched, documented cases of cheating have recently been uncovered in California [May 2000],Massachusetts [Marcus 2000], New York [Loughran and Comis-key 1999], Texas [Kolker 1999], and Great Britain [Hofkins 1995;Tysome 1994].There has been very little previous empirical analysis of teacher cheating.
The few studies that do exist involve investi-
1. The federal legislation,No Child Left Behind,was passed in 2001. Prior tothis legislation, virtually every state had linked test-score outcomes to schoolfunding or required students to pass an exit examinationto graduate high school.In the state of California, a policy providing for merit pay bonuses of as much as$25,000 per teacher in schools with large test score gains was recently put intoplace.2. Hereinafter,we uses the phrase “teacher cheating” to encompass cheatingdone by either teachers or administrators.3. We haveno way ofknowing whetherthe patterns we observearise becausea teacher explicitly alters students’ answer sheets, directly provides answers tostudents during a test, or perhaps makes test materials available to students inadvance of the exam (for instance, by teaching a reading passage that is on thetest). If we had access to the actual exams, it might be possible to distinguishbetween these scenarios through an analysis of erasure patterns.4. In contrast, there is a well-developed statistics literature for identifyingwhether one student has copied answers from another student [Wollack 1997;Holland 1996; Frary 1993; Bellezza and Bellezza 1989; Frary, Tideman, andWatts 1977; Angoff 1974]. These methods involve the identication of unusual
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