The sign in front of Charleston’s Sanders-Clyde Elementary school read “where every child is more than a test score.”
As state police continue their investigation of systematic accountability test cheating at the school, former Principal MiShawna Moore has gone on record denying the charges.
In a recent interview with the Post and Courier‘s Diette Courrege, Moore (lawyers by her side) complained the investigation had greatly inconvenienced her.
Moore even suggested that the dramatic drop in scores after her departure and the arrival of outside oversight was the result of some children taking their behavioral medicine immediately before the tests, not earlier in the day.
She also complained that “teachers weren’t allowed to give students encouragement, snacks were prohibited, meals were skipped, and breaks were limited.”
Moore did concede that heightened test monitoring procedures could not fully account for dramatic change and incongruity in scores – which statisticians claim could naturally occur in less than one percent of regular test taking – but offered no further theories on the bizarrely high scores on PACT during her tenure. Nor did she even mention the numerous erase marks found on dozens of tests.
Oddly enough, the Sanders-Clyde sign was right: the children were more than test scores.
These students, and their questionable performance gains helped Moore secure a pile of awards, recognitions and distinctions for Sanders-Clyde, and in a short time the school jumped from an “F” to a “B” in absolute ratings, and earned an “A” for its improvement pace.
In accordance with the ill-conceived and complicated funding policies in South Carolina, Sanders-Clyde was then able to receive additional funding from Columbia. In short, there was an economic incentive for Moore to cheat.
Legally, Moore is innocent until proven guilty, but in the unlikely case that she is not held accountable for the irregularities that occurred (directly or by subordinates) under her authority, that will only invite more tough questions about the state’s failure to efficiently and appropriate employ standardized testing in public schools.
If Moore is proven guilty, more invesitgation will be required to determine what role Chalreston Superintendent Nancy McGuliney may have had in either tolerating or facilitating the cheating. After all, it was under’s McGuliney’s “leadership” that these scores spiked and it took years before they were properly investigated.