Its Begun. FCAT, Algebra EOC Exams Under Review for Possible Cheating

So soon, eh? From the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

DAYTONA BEACH — Test scores of nearly 100 Volusia and Flagler students on this spring’s state FCAT and algebra exams are being reviewed for possible cheating and could be tossed out unless school officials can persuade the state they’re valid.

At least one local mom is upset because she thinks the invalidation of her son’s score casts a shadow on his integrity.

The invalidated local scores were identified through an analysis of test answers by Caveon Test Security, an Arizona firm hired by the state Department of Education to detect patterns of irregularity in results of the high-stakes exams. Statewide, 6,967 of the more than 4 million tests given were invalidated, according to a Department of Education spokesman.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is the foundation of the state’s school accountability system and helps determine which students are promoted to the next grade and who graduates from high school.

Caveon used “an extremely conservative statistical analysis” to look for similarities in students’ test scores, said Alicia Parker, program accountability and evaluation coordinator for Volusia schools.

Out of 90,530 FCAT and algebra tests given to Volusia students this spring, the analysis invalidated 71 scores because two or three students’ answers matched so closely that Caveon reported there was only a one in a trillion chance that would happen if the test was taken independently.

At least six students at Flagler Palm Coast High School also received invalid scores on the algebra exam, said district testing coordinator Jim Devine, and about 20 Flagler students’ FCAT scores were invalidated.

The Algebra I exam, given this year for the first time, counts for 30 percent of the course grade for first-time ninth-graders. Beginning with freshmen who start high school in August, students will have to pass that exam to graduate.

Where to begin?

With the Michelle Rhee DC cheating scandal still simmering , this isn’t what the test-based school reform crowds wants to hear or talk about. Right now – and at least until 2012 – they don’t have to. Jeb Bush is running around the nation and sucking up all the oxygen.  Still, the bad new for Bush, Rhee, et al currently outweighs the good. Maybe this summers’ grassroots surge of energy by parents and teachers can power an awakening that begins to walk back the threat that testing poses for our nation’s children.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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3 Responses to Its Begun. FCAT, Algebra EOC Exams Under Review for Possible Cheating

  1. Sandra says:

    I have been wondering about the results of the D.C. investigation. No follow up USA Today reporting yet either; afterall, they broke the story. Thanks for the news on Algebra 1. Sure would like to know HOW one cheats on a computerized test.

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