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December 2012 Vol. 20. No. 3 Focus on Fallout from a Cheating Scandal

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In 2012, PSSA scores dropped sharply at half the schools; change was modest at most others

About the 2012 test results

In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education implemented new security measures for PSSA testing in response to evidence of widespread test irregularities. Some measures, such as new rules for proctoring, applied only to districts, including Philadelphia, that were under investigation for cheating. Test scores in Philadelphia public schools overall dropped for the first time in ten years. Different explanations were offered. Some argued that massive cuts in school funding played a role in the drop. State officials said that test score decreases statewide were mostly attributable to schools in the state that had been flagged for possible cheating. In Philadelphia, most schools where test scores improved were charters. Key changes in testing procedures did not apply to most charters in Philadelphia. Due to state law on funding charters, city charters also did not experience the deep funding cuts in 2011-12 that affected District schools.

 

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