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State audit of test scores inconclusive

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POSTED: March 7, 2013 11:50 a.m.

Governor’s Office of Student Achievement academic auditors on Friday presented preliminary findings of an investigation into Liberty County’s Waldo Pafford Elementary School test practices, but the conclusion was ambiguous.
Liberty County Schools Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer spoke about the results.
“They didn’t give us much to go on,” she said. “At this point, what they think is the teachers were coaching the kids, giving them hints, subtlety type of stuff — but not erasing wrong answers and changing them to right answers.”
GOSA Accountability and Data Manager Adrian Neely on Friday confirmed the audit.
“This does not indicate test improprieties have occurred, however it does alert us to an anomaly in the data that needs further explanation,” she said. “It’s important that assessment data accurately reflects students’ knowledge and skills since important decisions are made based on this data.”
A high number of erased answers among tests of third- through fifth-grade classes was what triggered the investigation, Scherer and Neely said.
GOSA partnered with testing vendor CTB-McGraw Hill (CTB) to conduct erasure analysis. The results for the spring 2012 CRCT — the tests in question — are available online through GOSA. The reports were released Feb. 20.
Waldo Pafford drew attention for having 11 classes, or 26.2 percent, flagged for high erasures.
According to a GOSA release, four elementary and middle schools were termed as “severe concern,” defined as a school having 25 percent or more of its classes flagged for wrong-to-right changes.
Joseph Martin Elementary had three classes, or 7.7 percent flagged, falling into the “minimal concern” category.
Frank Long Elementary had two classes flagged, or 4.4 percent, and Snelson-Golden Middle School had two classes flagged, or 1.6 percent. Both are categorized as “clear of concern.”
The district still is awaiting the written report, which Scherer hopes will provide more clarity, and central office staff will launch their own investigation beginning next week.
Because more information was forthcoming, Scherer did not discuss possible consequences.

 

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