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Ed officials find no Atlanta-style cheating concerns in Rhode Island

July 14, 2011

In the wake of a widespread cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools, Rhode Island officials say they have no plans to increase their monitoring of standardized testing.

A spokesman from the State Department of Education says there have been only two cases of serious cheating on state tests in Rhode Island over the last 10 years. Both came to light because of whistleblowers, who notified state officials of testing irregularities.

Although there is no formal mechanism to identify potential cases of cheating on the state test known as the NECAP, state officials say they believe they would notice any dramatic shift in scores, which can be an indication of testing problems. The Department of Education is not currently investigating any potential cases of cheating.

The scandal now roiling Atlanta schools has raised concerns that teachers everywhere feel intense pressure to raise student achievement, which could mean that other school districts are susceptible to similar problems. State officials in Rhode Island say teachers and principals receive training on how to administer tests, and they believe that the vast majority are following the rules.

The Rhode Island Department of Education investigates a handful of complaints about potential testing problems each year, but a spokesman says staff rarely finds evidence of widespread cheating. In March, a Barrington elementary school principal resigned amid complaints that he allowed some students to erase marks in their test booklets and allowed one student to fill in blanks on an answer sheet after the testing period had ended. Barrington school officials say their test scores, which are among the highest in the state, remain valid and that the problem was an isolated incident.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 14, 2011 7:17 pm

    I’d note that the current DC cheating scandal started under Deborah Gist’s watch down there, and that she was stonewalled by Michelle Rhee before walking away from the whole mess. Or perhaps after someone gave her a clear path away from that mess.

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