Viewpoint: CRCT monitoring yields huge changes

Dougherty County school leaders need to pull their heads out of the sand. They continue to insist there's no way there was any cheating or tampering with standardized tests last year, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Last week, the State Department of Education released school-by-school CRCT scores for this year. The results aren't good at Dougherty County schools where the state said there were problems with testing last year.

You remember, the state listed eight Dougherty County elementary schools in the "severe concern" category because of the suspiciously high number of wrong answers changed to right answers on CRCTs last year. The state placed monitors in those schools this year to make sure there was no tampering.

We crunched the numbers. We analyzed the scores for every subject matter in every grade in each of those eight schools and compared them to last year's results. Out of 168 testing categories, the percentage of students who passed dropped in 140 categories... that's 83.3%.

Many of those drops were drastic. For instance, 92% of fourth graders at Jackson Heights Elementary passed the math portion of the CRCT last year. This year, only 47.7% passed. The overall passing rate in those eight schools took a nosedive of almost 13 points.

It's only logical to assume some of that change came because improprieties that occurred last year, were not allowed to happen this year because those monitors strictly enforced proper testing procedures. Dougherty County school leaders apparently don't share that logic.

We can only hope the state will step in and force the school system once and for all to fully investigate the problems and go after educators who didn't follow the rules and cheated our children out of the education they deserve.