Garland, S. (2011). High-stakes tests and cheating: An inevitable combination? The Hechinger Report.

Retrieved from Summary: An interview conducted with Robert Tobias, director of the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and former head of assessment and accountability for the New York City schools, discussed the influence of high stakes testing on cheating. The Hechinger Report talked with Tobias trying to understand why the former commonly leads to the latter. In other words, if high stakes testing inevitably leads to cheating, in what ways can this phenomenon be avoided? Tobias suggests an accountability system that has multiple components with high-stakes testing as one of them. He implies that this method for teacher judgment of performance and effectiveness is well-rounded and creates a different atmosphere and school culture while reducing the incentive to cheat. Tobias alludes to a non-exclusive use of high stakes testing for accountability. In other words, teachers need not be held accountable or have their fate determined almost exclusively by a high-stakes test. This is supported by him saying, “I don’t think accountability is a bad thing, I think you have to have accountability – but as long as the accountability is going to be so heavily dominated by testing, and that coupled with targets and goals that in many cases are unrealistic, that encourages cheating.” Richmond, E. (2013). When educators cheat: High stakes testing has caused some schools to cross the line. Scholastic. Retrieved from Summary: Preventing cheating has been a challenging job for Sue Daellenbach, assistant superintendent of assessment and accountability for the Clark County School District in Nevada. She upholds the zero tolerance policy that requires every student to be tested in the same environment and conditions throughout the district, the fifth largest in the nation. With stakes rising and putting new weight on teacher evaluation and grant money, the challenge to protect the integrity of standardized tests has become a tough one for Daellenbach. In the article, in states that Robert Schaeffer, a spokesman for FairTest, a non-profit organization that lobbies against the overuse of high-stakes tests, advocates that such tests undermine the ethical quality of teaching and learning. Additionally, the federal government’s Race to the Top competition has only “exacerbated the pressure because states must allow test scores to be used in teacher evaluations in order to qualify for the grants.” Schaeffer asserts that this system is constructed to encourage misbehavior because “people’s livelihood and reputations depend on these test scores. Overall, cheating requires more effort than simply doing the work without assistance. The challenge for educators is to withhold such integrity and to know that cheating is not in their best interest, nor the district in which they work. Thus, it is important for schools to establish “an

ethical bar for behavior, and combine that with supervision to make sure everyone—including teachers and staff—are following the rules.” This article discusses this and offers suggestions to increase test security. Schaeffer, R. (2012). High-Stakes Testing Cheats Children Out of a Quality Education. FairTest. Retrieved from Summary: Following testing scandals in 2012, FairTest was led to believe that such ‘scandals are the predictable result of over-reliance on test scores.” A FairTest examiner wrote the conclusion of Donald Campbell, a renowned social scientist, that “[W]hen test scores become the goal of the teaching process; they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.” Though an old problem, the consequences behind high-stakes testing are becoming more noticeable. This includes but is not limited to cheating on score reporting documents, teaching to the test, and undermining school climate. The author suggests that all these things ultimately cheat students out of a valuable education, especially the vulnerable ones. To the extent that test prepping causes vulnerable students to lose interests, become discipline issues in the classroom, and possibly corrupt in the real world leading them to the prison pipeline. However, the author indirectly mentions that “a real solution requires a comprehensive overhaul of federal, state and local testing requirements, more policing and better after-the-fact investigations will not.”

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