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New Central Falls high school principal misstated record on test scores

June 7, 2010

One of two new principals chosen to lead Central Falls high school through a controversial school overhaul may have exaggerated his record on raising student achievement. Sonn Sam, principal at the Met School in Providence since 2006, claims on his resume that he increased standardized test scores in Math by 79 percent at the Met. Math scores at the school have remained flat since 2007, with just 4 percent of students reaching proficiency in 2009, slightly worse than Central Falls High School.

When questioned, Sam said he was referring to the 2005-2006 school year, when he was an assistant principal. During that year, the number of students proficient in math and English did rise, but not by as much as he said. He also claimed that the Met had 18 percent more students proficient in Math and 14 percent more students proficient in English than Providence’s three largest high schools. Sam now admits he has no evidence to support that claim.

Sam said he regrets the errors, which he attributes to a former Met School employee, and will revise his resume. The Central Falls School Board is scheduled to vote on Sam’s appointment on Tuesday.

Ironically, the Met saw significant increases in both reading and writing during Sam’s tenure as principal, which were not mentioned on the resume. Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo stood by the selection today, saying it was based primarily on a lengthy interview process, not claims about raising test scores.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    June 8, 2010 12:24 am

    It is bad enough that we judge entire faculty performance using test that have little to no validity as measures of teaching quality, but it gets even more bizarre when those hiring will continue to consider a candidate who fabricates evidence of performance with such meaningless tests. I cannot believe we cannot find a more valid way to evaluate teaching and management of schools.

  2. Maureen permalink
    June 9, 2010 11:43 am

    So, I’m a little confused. Were the teachers at Central Falls High School terminated because of test scores? So why does Gallo say about the young new principal that he was chosen based NOT on raising test scores?
    What’s wrong with this picture?

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