The school system is only one problem in the United States, but the problem seems to be bigger than we all thought. In the Atlanta school system in Georgia, 178 teachers and administrators were recently accused of cheating on standardized tests. What’s even more alarming is that this cheating had gone all the way back since 2001 and some school principals were coercing teachers into cheating.
When I was in school, North Carolina had (and still has) a standardized test called the EOG (end of grade) that 3rd through 8th graders had to take to get into the next grade. In high school, they’re called EOCs (end of course). The test was a Scantron form – an answer sheet that had to be filled in with a #2 pencil. The test in Georgia is called the CRCT (criterion reference competency test – a mouthful!) and it’s essentially the same thing; each state has a different test for evaluating students.
Teachers and administrators in Georgia were accused of gathering up all the answer sheets and changing students’ wrong answers to right, so they could achieve higher test scores (and thus a better reputation) for their school. It’s low. It’s dirty. And it’s rather sickening. Kids that barely performed at grade level were suddenly acing tests and being promoted to the next grade, even when they couldn’t handle the material. That’s not doing anyone any favors at all. Teachers and administrators, who should be looking out for students’ well-being, are actually hurting them.
But teachers were afraid that if their classes didn’t perform to the state’s standards and do well on the test, that they would lose their jobs. And because the scores on the tests were getting higher and higher as the years went on, the standards got higher and higher, so the cycle of cheating had to continue in order to meet those standards. What’s really scary is that if it happened in Georgia, it’s more than likely happening in other states in the nation. Georgia just happened to get found out.
The moral of the story is: Something needs to be done about standardized tests, and as I’ve said on this blog before, I believe they should be eliminated because they seem to be doing far more harm than good.