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District again postpones votes to renew two charters

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 00:22 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

The School Reform Commission postponed scheduled votes on two charter schools Thursday, pulling one at the last minute for reasons related to an investigation of test cheating.

Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter High School was one of three city charters flagged by the state for potential cheating after analyses of test results for 2009, 2010, and 2011 showed statistical irregularities. The charter was directed by the state to conduct an investigation, which resulted in the dismissal of an assistant principal and the imposition of stricter testing protocols. 

The renewal vote on PE&T was delayed, officials said, not because of problems with the school's own probe, but because the District is not yet ready to release its investigations into possible cheating at more than a dozen District-run schools.

Forum takes on standardized testing

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 11:21 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Two icons of the progressive education movement spoke in Philadelphia on Wednesday night to decry standardized testing and urge that a “justice-oriented framework” drive school reform instead.

“Test score gaps are used to label schools as failures without providing resources or strategies to eliminate the gap,” said Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools, an education journal and publisher.

Two principals are first Philly casualties of cheating probes

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 12:55 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Dale Mezzacappa and Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and NewsWorks 

In the first fallout from Pennsylvania’s nearly two-year-old investigation into possible cheating on state standardized tests at 53 Philadelphia District schools, two city principals have surrendered their administrative credentials

Barbara McCreery, who oversaw astronomical test score gains in 2010 at Communications Technology High in Southwest Philadelphia, was alleged to have “violated the integrity and security of the PSSA by erasing and changing student answers, creating an answer key and manipulating student data."

Lola Marie O’Rourke, former principal of Locke Elementary in West Philadelphia, faced similar allegations, including that she directly provided answers to students.

State has taken over probe into 2009-11 tests at Wagner Middle School

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:50 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has taken over the probe into possible widespread cheating on state tests at Philadelphia's Wagner Middle School in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The investigation had previously been the purview of the School District of Philadelphia. District spokesman Fernando Gallard confirmed the switch, saying the state informed the District of its plan at the end of September. No reason for the change was given, Gallard said.

Lessons from Michelle Rhee

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Tue, 01/08/2013 - 18:46 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Tuesday night, Frontline is airing a documentary, by my friend John Merrow, on Michelle Rhee. Merrow, who has been following Rhee's career since her days with the New Teacher Project and was granted unprecedented access to her, includes allegations from a former principal that the Washington, D.C., school district failed to pursue allegations of adult cheating on tests.

I know -- many Notebook readers are growing weary of our coverage of cheating allegations in Philadelphia schools. But this is important stuff, folks. Whatever you think of the value of these tests or of misguided incentives attached to giving them such high stakes, we should not ignore evidence that educators may be behaving dishonestly, undermining the integrity of the whole educational enterprise.

Philly schools chief vows 'strong message' against cheating on tests

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 01/07/2013 - 19:22 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

Superintendent William Hite says the Philadelphia School District is "close to wrapping up" its piece of a far-reaching investigation into cheating on state tests, adding that some city educators may soon be disciplined.

"I feel very strongly about the evidence that is there," Hite said.

"We're intending to send a very strong message publicly about individuals who are found to have participated in cheating our students."

Investigations at 53 schools continue without resolution

by Dale Mezzacappa Posted in December 2012 Edition | Permalink

Pennsylvania’s investigation of possible cheating on state tests in Philadelphia is entering its second year with no results announced and with little information about its scope and depth.

So far, no area educators or school officials have been publicly charged with wrongdoing. Both the School District of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s Department of Education (PDE) have vowed to take disciplinary action, but those actions can take place behind closed doors.

Test security: Philadelphia gets strictest treatment

by Paul Jablow Posted in December 2012 Edition | Permalink

Heightened security measures are expected to again be in force throughout the School District of Philadelphia when state standardized tests are administered next spring. Changes are unlikely at least until current cheating investigations are brought to a close, according to Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) spokesman Tim Eller.

Seguridad en los exámenes: las medidas más estrictas para Filadelfia

por Paul Jablow Posted in Diciembre 2012 Edition | Permalink

Una vez más se esperan medidas de seguridad estrictas en todo el Distrito

Escolar cuando se administren los exámenes estandarizados la próxima primavera. Lo más probable es que no haya cambios al menos hasta se cierren que las investigaciones actuales de trampa, según dijo Tim Eller, portavoz del Departamento de Educación de Pensilvania (PDE). 

Acciones prohibidas durante el examen

Posted in Diciembre 2012 Edition | Permalink

Esta es una lista del Departamento de Educación de Pensilvania de lo que los maestros, administradores del examen y funcionarios escolares no pueden hacer.

1) Ayudar a los estudiantes más allá de alentarlos y darles instrucciones generales. A los estudiantes de educación especial se le puede dar cierta ayuda adicional de conformidad con su IEP.

2) Dejar a un estudiante solo en cualquier momento durante el examen.

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