Controversy over potentially fraudulent PACT scores at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School is still growing.
After SLED began investigating whether the school’s massive and inexplicable jump in academic achievement was the result of increased student performance or simple fraud, teachers and and administrators jumped to defend the legitimacy of the scores.
First, Mishawnda Moore- the principal responsible for the schools celebrated success- indicated that she was emotionally distraught about the accusations, and therefore could not be guilty. Now, teachers from the school have proposed that this year’s unbelievably low PACT scores are merely the result of test monitors creating a “hostile testing atmosphere” by watching the testing process and denying the students snacks.
Obviously Sanders-Clyde staff would be defensive whether they cheated or not. For these individuals to protest testing fraud accusations with totally non-empirical (or even probable) explanations does nothing to prove the allegations wrong. The Charleston Post and Courier offered a logical solution to the problem: let SLED conduct student achievement testing.
Despite tensions and accusations flying back and forth between the district and Sanders-Clyde, the school district will eventually close ranks with their recalcitrant school to protest someone outside the education establishment being involved in the testing process-in this case SLED.
The Sanders-Clyde testing scandal is just more proof of the problems that stem from the education bureaucracy being the sole judge, jury, and executioner for all testing, assessment, and accountability.
Using an assessment tool like the Iowa Test, or Stanford Achievement Test, would have prevented this misdeed from happening in the first place. Unfortunately, South Carolina’s impotent and obtuse legislature squandered a golden opportunity to replace the PACT with a nationally normed tool, and instead adopted another incomparable and even more nebulous grading standard ( PASS). Instead of preventing more Sanders-Clyde type behaviour, they are fostering an environment in which it can flourish.