“As test scores rocketed at her school, Sanders-Clyde Elementary, the city held her up as a model. The United Way and the Rotary Club honored her, The Charleston Post and Courier called her a “miracle worker,” and the state singled out her school to compete for a national award. In Washington, the Department of Education gave the school $25,000 for its achievements.
“Somehow, Ms. Moore had transformed one of Charleston’s worst schools into one of its best, a rare breakthrough in a city where the state has deemed more than half the schools unsatisfactory. It seemed almost too good to be true.
“It may have been. The state has recently started a criminal investigation into test scores at Ms. Moore’s school, seeking to determine whether a high number of erasure marks on the tests indicates fraud.”
“Anna Habash is a policy analyst for the Education Trust, which works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels. She says it is difficult to say exactly how South Carolina graduation rates stack up nationally because states measure their data differently. There is no question, however, that the state has an “urgent problem,” she says. And on top of that, she adds, South Carolina is one of only three states that don’t require graduation rates to improve — only that they not get worse. Currently the rate is 56 percent.
“South Carolinians should be asking why their state doesn’t demand more and what is being done to ensure that more students graduate from high school.”
“Lamenting a “silent epidemic” that half of all minorities nationwide don’t graduate high school on time, Spellings announced Tuesday that states will be required to calculate graduation rates uniformly and provide breakdowns for each group of students, including minorities and poor students.”
UPDATE: The Charleston City Paper notes the NY Times coverage and wonders if the fake score jumps prevented the students from getting the supplementary instruction they really needed.
…Another parent, Tanika Bausley, recalled, “It was hard for me to believe the scores that my daughter had, knowing the struggles she was having,” adding that her child had a “borderline learning disability.”
Bausley’s comment hightlights something that I haven’t seen analyzed in this story. The district provides additional resources to struggling schools. I wonder if these students were missing out on study assistance because of their test scores.