There are other methods of detecting cheating based on the actual answers, but I haven’t yet found out very much about them.
As far as I can tell, based on the USAT series documentation and subsequent calls and emails to DCPS, OSSE, DC OIG, CTB McGraw-Hill, and the US DOE IG office, most of which were ignored, DCPS and OSSE decided only to use two:
(2) Hire Caveon to do essentially a whitewash by going to a handful of schools and ask people, with a straight face, did anything bad happen?
Remember Wayne Ryan? He was the principal at Noyes ES in DC who apparently erased his way to fame and fortune by arranging for mass erasing at his school. He won cash awards, lots of favorable publicity, and a promotion to high office in DCPS. Not long after the USA today series came out, he suddenly and quietly resigned with no word of explanation. Some folks have told me that he was told to leave so that he couldn’t be compelled to testify as a DCPS employee — essentially admitting that Henderson and other higher ups in DCPS knew he was a big-time cheater. But of course I don’t know what was really said behind closed doors. Care to comment, Wayne or Kaya?
For example: at Woodrow Wilson SHS, Erich Martel used common sense and a dedication to the truth to detect a years-long massive pattern of illegal grade changes and awarding of phony credits to students who hadn’t earned them. He carefully documented and publicized these illegalities in a number of venues. For his reward he was subjected to a lot of petty retaliation at his school and then given a punitive transfer to Phelps, from which he was subsequently RIFed (IIRC).
At McKinley Tech, where hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money went missing, the principal was shown to have doctored a staggering number of student transcripts. An investigator is assigned to look into it. Guess what DCPS does? It FIRED THE INVESTIGATOR ON TRUMPED UP CHARGES and reinstated the principal.
In addition, during the last few years, on the DC-CAS, students are given absurdly long periods of time to do most of the tests, and absolutely nothing to do once they are done. It doesn’t require 55 minutes to do 15 easy multiple-choice questions, but that’s pretty typical. It’s almost like they are asking students to “use their time wisely” by looking on each others’ papers, if possible. When I was teaching, all but a tiny handful of students would finish in about one-third of the time allotted, and then would be bored stiff. I would encourage them to check their work, of course. They would tell me, invariably, “but I already did!” I would then urge them to take a little mental break and then check their answers again. And again. But after a while they would start asking me for scratch paper so they could doodle and draw…. And of course, I had to collect and destroy all their drawings at the end of the session, as a security measure, even though some of their work was pretty darned nice!
I happen to think that the students I had for this sort of thing over the last 15 years were generally quite honest, but when students have so much time with nothing to do, and if there are a lot of students squeezed together with not much room between them, and if the students actually cared enough to do so, a student would have ample opportunity to cheat if he or she felt like it.
What’s more, a Canadian professor told me he found that lots of students do exactly that in city after city. But he can of course only detect this if he has the actual answers that students bubbled in.
Don’t say it’s impossible: Chicago Public Schools did just that — they put all of the students answers for a several-year period into a searchable database which is how Levitt detected the cheating there. Under Arne Duncan, no less!
Release all of the answers to all of the DC-CAS tests in such a way that the student is not identified by name, but the classroom and school *are* identifiable.
Let anybody interested fiddle with the data and perform their own investigation.
Sunlight is one of the very best disinfectants there is.
Are you facing accusations of cheating on your state tests?
What will you do when:
Caveon Investigations can help!