Yesterday I linked to a video by cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Willingham about the flaws of using standardized testing to reward teachers with pay and /or tenure (see his video at the bottom of the post).
USA Today gives us another reason to be skeptical in a big project they're kicking off this week about cheating based on an analysis of the standardized tests of millions of students from six states and Washington D.C.
The newspaper identified 1,610 examples of anomalies in which public school classes a school's entire fifth grade, for example boasted what analysts regard as statistically rare, perhaps suspect, gains on state tests. Such anomalies surfaced in Washington, D.C., and each of the states Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Ohio where USA TODAY analyzed test scores. For each state, the newspaper obtained three to seven years' worth of scores. There were another 317 examples of equally large, year-to-year declines in an entire grade's scores.