4

HISD Likely Cheated on Standardized Tests, Study Says

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published a massive project studying standardized-test scores across the nation in the wake of a scandal in that city.

Their analysis showed, the paper said, "that test scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools."

One of the offenders highlighted: Houston. (And Dallas, too, so there's that.)

Their summary box on HISD:

HOUSTON

Enrollment: 204,245

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 79 percent

AJC analysis: Since 2006, 307 classes exhibited improbable changes, compared to an expected 177. Odds: less than 1 in 1 trillion.

History: After the Dallas Morning News identified possible cheating in 2004 and 2007, the district fired numerous principals and teachers.

High stakes: In 2011, 75 percent of the district's teachers received bonuses through a pay-for-performance system.

HISD superintendent Terry Grier sent out a letter to "the HISD community" with the district's response:

I want you to know that HISD takes these allegations seriously and does not tolerate cheating. We believe that adults who participate in cheating are robbing their students of the quality education they deserve. I also want you to know that I believe in the integrity of the overwhelming majority of educators working in Houston schools.

Now, I don't know everything that happened in Atlanta. But I can tell you that in 2010 and 2011, HISD hired outside law firms to conduct aggressive investigations of possible cheating at 22 schools. These investigations resulted in nine confirmed cheating cases. Twenty-one HISD teachers were recommended for termination, did not have their contracts renewed, or decided to resign or retire as a result of these investigations. We currently have five ongoing cheating investigations.

Our testing security measures are comprehensive. Our teachers are not permitted to administer state exams to their own students. On test days, we send monitors to each campus to personally ensure that proper testing protocols are being followed. We have a telephone hotline for people to anonymously offer tips of possible cheating. On each campus, only two people have keys with access to testing material storage rooms, most of which are monitored by video camera.


Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.