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

A distorted reality

Photo: Kimberly Paynter for NewsWorks

In 2010, math scores at Communications Technology High in Southwest Philadelphia jumped an astonishing 40 points and reading scores rose 22 points. Adult cheating is suspected. While a state-led investigation goes on, the questionable test results continue to have an impact.

By by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

In July 2010, when Saliyah Cruz was named principal of Communications Technology High, state test scores said the small citywide admission school in Southwest Philadelphia was one of the best in the city.

Everything else said something different.

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Test security: Philadelphia gets strictest treatment

By by Paul Jablow

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.

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Going beyond the multiple-choice test

By by Connie Langland

While high-stakes testing continues unabated, educators skeptical of the annual assessments are not just experimenting, but making headway in finding better ways to evaluate – and improve – student learning and whole-school performance.

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Investigations at 53 schools continue without resolution

By by Dale Mezzacappa

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.

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Info is scarce on cheating probes at 4 area charters

By by Bill Hangley, Jr. and Dale Mezzacappa

Update: Pennsylvania Department of Education officials now say that “the department did not close its investigation related to Walter Palmer.” See below for details.

Walter Palmer knows it sounds odd to ask a school suspected of cheating to investigate itself. And he knows it might raise eyebrows when the state closes that investigation even though the school can’t come up with any answers.

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