Pennsylvania students scored slightly lower on their 2011-12 achievement tests because of a state crackdown on alleged cheating by educators in some districts, state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said Friday.
Tomalis said his department plans to file complaints in the coming weeks against more than 100 educators for tampering with student test sheets in an attempt to boost scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments tests.
Investigations remain active in six of the state's 500 school districts and three charter schools, he said.
The alleged cheating inflated scores over the previous three years. Enhanced security measures resulted in the proportion of students scoring at or above their grade levels in math and reading declining by more than 1 percentage point statewide compared to 2010-11, Tomalis said.
"When a few individuals act inappropriately, everyone, including students, is negatively impacted," he said.
Pennsylvania's largest teachers union accused the Corbett administration of unfairly trying to shift blame for the test-score dip onto a tiny fraction of the state's 130,000 educators while ignoring the broader effect of last year's deep cuts in state aid to public schools.
"Who really thinks state government can cut nearly $1 billion from the public schools, cut 14,000 educators, and eliminate programs that work for students -- without impacting student achievement?" asked Michael Crossey, the Pennsylvania State Education Association's president.
Overall, the proportion of students performing at or above their grade levels on the 2011-12 exams was 75.7 percent in math, 71.9 percent in reading, 73.2 percent in writing and 61.4 percent in science.
Still under investigation are: Harrisburg City School District; Hazleton Area School District; Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia; Philadelphia Electrical and Technical Charter High School; Philadelphia School District; Pittsburgh School District; Reading School District; Scranton School District; and Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School in Philadelphia.
The investigation into alleged cheating stems from a 2009 report. Of the 48 school districts and charter schools targeted initially, 30 were cleared of wrongdoing. Investigations of nine others have been closed or scaled back to monitoring by the state.
In the wake of yesterday’s system, icy spots will be a concern for the region along with the bitter cold. Look for lows in the teens and 20S. Highs close to 30. West winds 5-10 mph with feels like temperatures in the teens. Bundle up and watch for icy patches on roads and sidewalks.
Wednesday (29/21): Sun/Clouds
Thursday (25/19): Sun/Clouds
Friday (32/17): Sun/Clouds
Saturday (36/35): Rain/Snow