“Look, you don’t teach math, you teach the test. North Avenue is all about the Leave No Child Behind stuff getting spoon-fed.” That may be a line from the critically acclaimed HBO show The Wire, but the fictional North Avenue school could be any number of schools in our country. And three teachers and two principals from a New Jersey school district took the “spoon-fed” philosophy to heart by allegedly assisting student cheating on standardized tests. The educators apparently, in their quest to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind, bent the rules, got caught and have been suspended.
NBC New York reports that the third graders at two elementary schools in Woodbridge, New Jersey, “were coached by their teachers to erase the wrong answers and fill in the right ones on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge exam in 2010.” In addition to erasing wrong answers, NBC added that “the cheating tactics ranged from teachers hinting at students that their responses were wrong, by tapping their desks or giving them second chances, to full fledged ‘study’ sessions held minutes before the tests were handed out.”
With their alleged cheating, the test scores of 94 percent of the third graders at one of the schools were deemed “advanced proficient,” where normally only about one third of students nationwide achieve those kind of scores. But the big clue that cheating was going on was the large amount of eraser marks on the tests, which were so numerous that it prompted an investigation.
Sadly, cheating to meet the No Child Left Behind goals is not unique to these two schools. According to the Huffington Post, the Department of Education is looking into 27 other districts for cheating on the tests. Other examples include Shayla Smith, an Atlanta math teacher who helped students with the answers because her students were “dumb as hell.”
Do you think that the state testing for No Child Left Behind does more harm than good?
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