Teachers Cheat on Standardized Tests to Make Schools Look Good


standardized testOver the last decade, public schools in Atlanta have made some great progress. In 2009, Superintendent Beverly Hall even won the national Superintendent of the Year award for the amazing gains she achieved with the students in her district. For example, eighth grade reading score alone jumped 14 points between 2002 and 2009.

Bravo, Atlanta!

Except it’s all a lie. On Tuesday, a 413-page report was released by Governor Nathan Deal that revealed the biggest cheating scandal in United States educational history. According to the report:

More than three quarters of the 56 schools investigated cheated on a 2009 standardized state test, with 178 educators implicated, including 38 principals. Eighty-two teachers confessed to erasing students' answers and correcting tests. The report says widespread cheating has occurred since at least 2001 and that orders to cheat came from the top.

Say what? The teachers were cheating? Who knew that teachers could cheat? I thought that that was the sole domain of students. Apparently, teachers and administrators were ‘encouraged’ to ‘boost’ their students scores by giving answers during tests, sitting underachieving kids next to the smart ones and turning a blind eye, and/or changing the kids’ answers to the correct ones.

Some people are eager not to blame the teachers, instead looking at the district officials that put pressure on them to artificially inflate their students’ test scores. While the higher-ups certainly have to answer for their own actions, the teachers are also at fault. It’s not like they had a gun to their heads. What happened to integrity? What happened to the children?

When these kids fail to grasp concepts, they need more learning, not to be passed along like Aunt Betty’s Christmas fruitcake. Teachers claim to be in it for the kids, yet the Atlanta teachers participated in actions that would be nothing but detrimental for the students. If they really had the kids’ best interest at heart, they would not have acted the way in which they did.

Public education needs to do a better job actually educating our kids. Teaching them to cheat is not the way to do it.


Image via albertogp123/Flickr

in the news, education, elementary school, grades, high school, middle school


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Beths... Bethsunshine

This doesn't shock me at all!!!  There have been MANY cases of teachers "teaching to the test". I've always thought these standardized tests were a crock and this just proves it. I'd be willing to bet that this isn't the only time this has happened; these teachers just happened to get caught.

Anyone still want to ask me why I homeschool?

Justa... Justamom283

This is very unfortunate and I couldn't agree with your last statement more.

Kelli... KelliansMom

sad yes ...shocking no ...when their jobs depended on if their kids would pass i can see them doing that (which is more sad really) and yes the standerized test are crap bc the teachers have to teach to the test ...the ones in va are called the SOL which i find so funny bc really i remember when they started them and by april they had nothing else to teach bc they had to teach what was on that test and we were left hanging for two more months with nothing to do but watch movies 

zandh... zandhmom2

There is no reason that these schools, princials and teachers should be cheating like this.  It is our school system job to teach our children and if they can't they should be fired and let someone else come in and teacher. I know that there are a lot of good teachers but when I hear stories like this...I lose respect for them.

nonmember avatar Anon

If they cannot teach, disband the public school system. Give the money back to the parents and let them figure out what will work for their kids. Stop wasting half of our kids' lives and most of their inheritance just to keep a bunch of non-performing union members employed.

Veron... VeronicaTex

I am saddened to hear this story. It does not speak for the teachers of our nation, I can assure you...

I worked in the public school system as a bilingual teacher.  On my grade level there was ONE unscrupulous teacher (regular) who I would not have put past her to have changed answers on her kids' tests. This woman was impossible to work with, also....

There are many great teachers out there that  "must teach to the test".  it is more difficult than one can imagine.  If you are not a teacher who lives that life every day for years, and are looking in from the outside, you have NO IDEA what the teachers are up against, especially in AT RISK schools.

What these teachers did was WRONG. But please do not, as Anon just did, accuse teachers of not knowing how to teach....

I really do not have a solution, except very hard, honest work.   I have seen my collegues, remaining honest, and steadfast throughout the school year achieve amazing things, despite the fact most of these kids come from impoverished backgrounds....

momto... momtothemax2910

Is it wrong yes. Can I blame them no. I know of a school where teachers jobs was on the line based on standardized test scores. It didn't matter how students improved throughout the school year. Teachers actually lost their jobs because they couldn't force performance on one particular test. In the classroom they can adjust tests and assignments for visual and audio learners and find ways to boost learning that way. Some students just cannot perform well on these tests because their brains don't work that way.

momve... momversuswild

As a parent I want better for my kids than our public schools can give them.  I saw a quote recently that said something like, "There is no school equal to a decent home, and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent."  I believe this, and thus I home school.  Teachers can't educate our children alone.  Sadly, some parents just fully release that responsibility and privilege to teachers.  It takes a life style dedicated to education to see kids who excel in academics.

Veron... VeronicaTex

momtothemax2910...You are so right...

When I taught 3rd/4th bilingual the word problems in Math showed that they, in addition to the American kids,  do NOT think the way the tests set up the word problem.  When I prepared my children for the TAKS test  in Spanish (and the other teachers did also in the regular classrooms in English) it was very evident at that age that they were not ready to sit down and take the time to reason out how to solve the problem.    They have to, for the most part be trained and conditioned to do the many steps it takes to solve a problem like this...plus build up a stamina to take a test that will come out to take at least one hour...

What I observed is that kids will choose the wrong answer, because at their age (3rd) it is easier to follow instinct than "do the Math" as the test writers want them to do it...

I do believe after a few years that it does get easier:  a routine has been established...

By the way it was not until I was in 9th grade that I even began doing this type of math problem solving...

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