Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Proctor problems.

This Tennessean article by Claudette Riley highlights an incident that is being investigated in Robertson County. Incidents of teachers cheating on testing have become commonplace across the nation as their impact on teachers and school systems rose. I'm surprised that no one figured out long ago that the very teacher that was prepping the students, and would be accountable for the grades they get, shouldn't be the one proctoring the test.

"One major change, said Springfield High Principal Rick Highsmith, is that teachers will no longer be able to give the tests to their own students because there's so much riding on the exams. The test scores determine who is eligible to graduate, how well a teacher is rated at doing his or her job, and whether or not a school makes enough progress from one year to the next."

This conflict of interest was made obvious to me many years ago when my son was required to take the 2nd grade TCAP as a homeschooler in a large group of miscellaneous public and home schooled students. I had a lot of problems with that whole incident but one of the biggest was that the proctor would read the question and then would provide some reminder to the students of what they had covered in their public school preparations. This sort of help I considered completely out of line. While this had no impact on my son's score, there is no way of knowing if her prompts unfairly raised the scores of her students and so invalidated any serious examination of their weak points for remediation.

I applaud this change and would hope that this is done across the state.

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