July 15 — 1:05 pm, 2011

List of 89 Pa. schools to be investigated

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook/NewsWorks

These are the 89 Pennsylvania schools that are to be investigated for possible cheating on the 2009 state standardized tests under orders from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Statewide, 10 charter schools and 38 other school districts are affected by the order.

The list represents all the schools identified by name in the 44-page Data Forensics Technical Report prepared for PDE by the Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) in July 2009.

That two-year-old study, first uncovered and reported on by the Notebook last week, sought to use statistical analysis to ferret out suspicious test score results on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exam. The statistical analysis does not prove that cheating definitely occurred, but suggests that the listed schools’ results are highly improbable and warrant further investigation. 

The results of both the newly ordered District investigations and a forensic analysis of this year’s PSSA results are expected in August. PDE announced on Thursday that it is ordering a forensic analysis of 2010 PSSA results. Those results are expected by fall.

Included among the schools to be investigated are seven Philadelphia charter schools and 28 District schools. Twenty-two of the District schools were flagged for multiple statistical irregularities in the primary analysis conducted by DRC, which looked for schools with some combination of:

  • highly improbable gains in schools’ test scores across years,
  • unlikely jumps in student performance levels, and
  • suspicious numbers of wrong answers that were erased and changed to the correct answer.

Six additional schools were named in the report and are on the list because they were flagged multiple times in a secondary analysis conducted by DRC that looked for improbable changes in scores and test participation rates of various subgroups of students within the 2008-09 school year.

"Due to the high-stakes nature of statewide assessments, the secretary ordered a complete review of the 2009 report to ensure that the integrity and credibility of the PSSA is maintained," said PDE spokesperson Tim Eller on Thursday. "It is important to assure the citizens and taxpayers of Pennsylvania that their financial investment in education is held to a high standard."

Not included in the list of schools that PDE is ordering the District to investigate are several schools that showed highly suspicious erasure patterns in numerous grades and subjects, but were not flagged on the other statistical analyses conducted by DRC. Philadelphia’s Emlen and Forrest elementary schools, for example, were flagged for suspicious erasures in both reading in math for grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, but no investigation has been ordered at these schools.

Eller had previously stated that 90 schools would be investigated. He said Thursday that the earlier incorrect number may have been the result of a miscount. 

The schools named in the report (PDF, XLS):

Abington Heights SD Abington Heights HS
Ambridge Area SD Ambridge Area HS
Belle Vernon Area SD Bellmar MS
Berwick Area SD Nescopeck ES
Bethlehem Area SD Freedom HS
Big Beaver Falls SD Beaver Falls MS
Bristol Borough SD Snyder-Girotti ES
Chambersburg Area SD Chambersburg Area MS
Charter (10) Alliance for Progress CS
  Architecture and Design CHS
  Chester Community CS
  Imhotep Institute CS
  Maritime Academy CS
  Northwood Academy CS
  PA Cyber CS
  Philadelphia Electrical and Technical CHS
  Walter Palmer Leadership Learning Partners CS
  Wissahickon CS
Cheltenham Township SD Cheltenham HS
Connellsville Area SD (4) Bullskin ES
  Clifford N. Pritts ES
  Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center
  South Side ES
Dallastown Area SD Ore Valley ES
Delaware Valley SD Dingman-Delaware MS
Derry Area SD Grandview Intermediate School
Easton Area SD (2) Paxinosa ES
  Shawnee MS
Ephrata Area SD Fulton ES
Gateway SD Moss Side MS
Governor Mifflin SD Governor Mifflin HS
Harrisburg City SD (2) ACTS @ William Penn School
  Melrose School
Hazleton Area SD (6) Freeland ES/MS
  Hazleton ES/MS
  Hazleton Area HS
  Heights-Terrace ES/MS
  Valley ES/MS
  West Hazelton ES/MS
Lancaster SD (3) Hamilton ES
  Lincoln MS
  Wheatland MS
Lebanon SD Lebanon MS
Lincoln IU 12 Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12
Minersville Area SD Minersville Area ES
Monessen City SD Monessen Elementary Center
New Kensington-Arnold SD Fort Crawford School
North Schuykill SD North Schuylkill Junior/Senior HS
Pennsbury SD Pennsbury HS
Philadelphia SD (28) Dr. Ethel Allen School
  Barry, Comm. John School
  Catharine, Joseph School
  Cayuga School
  CEP-Hunting Park
  Disston, Hamilton School
  Douglass, Frederick School
  Edmonds, Franklin S School
  Fels HS
  Fitler Academic Plus
  FitzPatrick, Aloysius
  Frankford HS
  Grover Washington MS
  Lamberton, Robert ES
  John Marshall School
  Thurgood Marshall ES
  McClure, Alexander K. School
  Muñoz-Marin ES
  Northeast HS
  Olney ES
  Penn Treaty MS
  Theodore Roosevelt MS
  Stanton, M Hall School
  Stetson, John B MS
  Strawberry Mansion HS
  Wagner, Gen Louis MS
  Wilson, Woodrow MS
  Ziegler, William HS
Pittsburgh SD Sterrett Classical Academy
Pleasant Valley SD Pleasant Valley HS
Reading SD (2) Northwest MS
  Reading SHS
Scranton SD (2) Northeast Intermediate School
  Scranton HS
South Western SD Markle Intermediate School
Spring-Ford Area SD Spring-Ford HS
Uniontown Area SD Ben Franklin School
Wallingford-Swarthmore SD Strath Haven HS
Wellsboro Area SD Wellsboro Area HS
William Penn SD Penn Wood SHS

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