Excellent DCPS Teacher Fired For Low Value-Added Scores — Because of Cheating?

You really need to read this article in today’s Washington Post, by Bill Turque. It describes the situation of Sarah Wysocki, a teacher at MacFarland, who was given excellent evaluations by her administrators during her second year; but since her “Value-Added” scores were low for the second year in a row, she was fired.



Ms. Wysocki raises the possibility that someone cheated at Barnard, the school where a lot of her students had attended the previous year; she said that there were students who scored “advanced” in reading who could, in fact, not read at all.

Curious, I looked at the OSSE data for Barnard and found that the percentages of “advanced” students in grades 3 and 4 had what looks to me to be some rather suspicious drops from SY2009-10 to SY 2010-2011, at a school that apparently has a 70% to 80% free-or-reduced-price lunch population:

Grade 3, reading, 2010: 11% “advanced” but only 3% the next year;

Grade 4, reading, 2010: 29% “advanced”, but only 7% the next year.

Ms. Wysocki raised the accusation of cheating, but, as usual, DCPS administration put a bunch of roadblocks in the way and deliberately failed to investigate.

And naturally, Jason Kamras thinks he’s doing a peachy job and that there is nothing wrong with IMPACT or DC’s method of doing value-added computations.

Published in: on March 7, 2012 at 10:38 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Regarding the Post article, did Mr. Kamras and DCPS make sure that the students of the teacher who was fired get a highly effective teacher this year, to make up for the lost year?


  2. Sadly, what happened to this teacher could happen to any teacher in DCPS.


    • yup. More of them need to speak up, especially about cases of cheating on the DCCAS that they know about.
      John Merrow is looking to interview folks.


  3. To me, this proves that the district was involved in the cheating because they must have known these unlikely test scores were indicative of wrongdoing. Also, the school principal would certainly know that a particular student who could barely read would not have an “advanced” or “proficient” on his test.

    I taught for 42 years so I know that when cheating is rampant, it usually starts with administration.


  4. Cheating is becoming a problem in many school districts and it wouldn’t be the first time that teachers pass a student despite the fact that he or she cannot do the school work. I wish there was a better way of determing who are good teachers versus who are bad. Apparently, whatever method is currently being used is not accurate which leads to some good teachers being fired.


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