DCSS wants better access to tests in question - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DCSS wants better access to tests in question

Dougherty County School Board Chairman David Maschke Dougherty County School Board Chairman David Maschke

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  There's a showdown between the Dougherty County School Board and the state office that ordered the board to investigate possible CRCT tampering.

Board members complain the Governor's Office of Student Achievement isn't giving them enough access to test answer sheets in question.

Those state officials say the board needs to focus less on those tests and more on finding possible cheating teachers.

Monday night board members voted to send a team to a secure warehouse in Indiana to examine CRCT tests from Dougherty County classes. But they're sending this letter to the state asking for more access. They won't get to see any first and second grade results and only limited results from other grades.

So we asked the state, why schools can't have more access?

Dougherty County School Board Chairman David Maschke believes the state condemned the system before it had a reasonable chance to look at CRCT information and is now unfairly restricting their access to those tests in question.

"Their entire report is based on their scanning the answer sheets so the answer sheets are some of the most critical information and significant evidence apparently in their mind," said Maschke.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement told us the test documents aren't where schools should be focusing their investigation.

"They can get down and interview and find out what actually occurred and whether there were sort of weak spots and breaches in security last year," said Eric Wearne, Deputy Director of the  Governor's Office of Student Achievement. "The data can't tell you that only interviews can tell you that.

In Dougherty County's case they feel investigators looking that those answer sheets might show a pattern.

"The way students may or may not have changed answers, whether the student was just making patterns because they weren't taking the test seriously," said Maschke.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement believes giving schools a student breakdown that provides them with how many answers a student changed from wrong to right should be enough. Both the state and McGraw-Hill are now pressed to administer this years tests which is why time limits in Atlanta and Indiana were set.

"It has to do with the logistics of getting the 2010 CRCT's ready to go and the fact that that even if they had a couple of day in Dougherty's case alone they had several thousand answer documents," said Wearne.

So we questioned again, why not give the system more time to examine the information because of the volume? "It's not feasible," said Wearne.

School Administrators say that's not an answer they're willing to accept.

Dougherty County School Board Chairman David Maschke believes the state condemned the system before it had a reasonable chance to look at CRCT information and is now unfairly restricting their access to those tests in question.

"Their entire report is based on their scanning the answer sheets so the answer sheets are some of the most critical information and significant evidence apparently in their mind," said Maschke.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement told us the test documents aren't where schools should be focusing their investigation.

"They can get down and interview and find out what actually occurred and whether there were sort of weak spots and breaches in security last year. The data can't tell you that only interviews can tell you that," said Wearne.

In Dougherty County's case they feel investigators looking that those answer sheets might show a pattern.

"The way students may or may not have changed answers, whether the student was just making patterns because they weren't taking the test seriously," said Maschke.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement believes giving schools a student breakdown that provides them with how many answers a student changed from wrong to right should be enough. Both the state and McGraw-Hill are now pressed to administer this years tests which is why time limits in Atlanta and Indiana were set.

"It has to do with the logistics of getting the 2010 CRCT's ready to go and the fact that that even if they had a couple of day in Dougherty's case alone they had several thousand answer documents," said Wearne.

So we questioned again, why not give the system more time to examine the information because of the volume? "It's not feasible."

School Administrators say that's not an answer they're willing to accept.

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