Thursday, May 31, 2018

I have to admit the school-within-a-school scam is a new one on me

A while back, Andrew Gelman and I wrote a piece for Vox discussing how the focus on a small set of standardized tests was, consistent with Campbell's law, affecting schools behavior in ways that undermined the value and reliability of the metrics. In some of the cases, the ways in which the changes in behavior undermined the metrics was so subtle that the administrators were probably not aware of the statistical implications (such as the use of pep rallies and other test prep techniques that did not improve students mastery of the material). In other cases, the actions were clearly questionable and rules were obviously being bent (such as the practice of "counseling out" low performing students, particularly those with learning disabilities).

I don't believe we discussed any cases of outright fraud, but then, we didn't talk about Florida.
Several days before the Florida Standards Assessments began near the end of the school year, 13 third-grade students suddenly transferred from the Palm Harbor Academy charter school to a newly created private school on the same school campus, run by Palm Harbor Academy governing board chairman the Rev. Gillard Glover.

With one exception, all of those 13 students had one thing in common: They were at least one full grade behind grade level. Many of the children were multiple grades behind grade level. Another five students in other grades, all at least two grades behind grade level, were also transferred out of Palm Harbor and into the private school at around the same time.

The students’ transfer to a private school meant that they didn’t take the state assessments required of public school students — and, therefore, didn’t drag down the school’s state scores and school grade. A failing school grade would have meant shuttering the school, School Board Attorney Kristin Gavin said, because the school got a D last year.

1 comment:

  1. Seems par for the course. I don't see anything surprising.

    If one designs a perverse evaluation and rewards system then one should expect perverse results.