Alabama State Dept. of Ed finds little wrong with 522 pushouts in Bham
- Subject: Alabama State Dept. of Ed finds little wrong with 522 pushouts in Bham
- From: Anne Nonniemouse <ShopMathEdu@AOL.COM>
- Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 17:42:15 EST
- Comments: cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, SOhan70241@aol.com, JFirst6218@aol.com, Csubstance@aol.com
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Dear ARN folks:
Below, I have pasted an article from the front page of this Sunday morning's
The Birmingham News.
The website for this article is:
I will also attempt to provide a direct link to the article below:
;>Student testing: No proof schools cheated, says state</A>
I do not have the time to respond to this article immediately, but will do so
before the night is over. As you are reading the article, I hope you will
take note of what is not said, or whose comments or perspectives are missing,
as much as with what is contained in the article.
I hope you will consider lighting a candle tonight in remembrance of the 522
Birmingham high school students who were pushed out of school in order, in my
humble opinion, to "raise" SAT9 scores. As I watch our candle flicker down
here in Birmingham, I will also take some solace in the fact that some of the
students are independently continuing their education in different ways
throughout this city.
I also hope that folks on this list will work closer together, and support
the activism which is going on coast-to-coast, border-to-border, that ARN
folks are engaged in to stop the inhumanity in education.
Warmest greetings to one and all,
adult education instructor
=====Birmingham News article pasted below========
Student testing: No proof schools cheated, says state
CHARLES J. DEAN
News staff writer MONTGOMERY - State investigations did not find that
cheating was involved in the big increases some Birmingham schools and a
handful of others across the state posted on last year's Stanford Achievement
Test, state Superintendent Ed Richardson says. The state Department of
Education also has cleared Birmingham schools of accusations that they kicked
out low-achieving students last spring to boost test scores. City school
officials have adamantly maintained that no cheating occurred on last year's
test. They have also said repeatedly that the vast majority of students
suspended before the test was given had a history of excessive absences and
bad behavior. They have also maintained that while some of the suspended
students had poor grades, there were also students suspended who would have
done well on the test.
;>Share your education concerns</A>
City school leaders were notified of the results of the state investigation
in a letter Thursday from Richardson to Birmingham Superintendent Johnny
Brown. Richardson noted in the letter that his staff specifically looked into
allegations of improperly suspended students at Parker and Woodlawn high
schools. "Withdrawal of students during the 1999-2000 academic year appeared
to be based on excessive absences, disciplinary problems, and failure in
coursework. Although many of the withdrawn students had low Stanford test
scores, supporting documentation indicated that these students also had
excessive absences, disciplinary problems, and/or failure in coursework.
There was no evidence to support the allegation that students were withdrawn
based on low test scores alone," Richardson wrote. The letter criticizes the
school system for not having a systemwide written policy regarding withdrawal
of students. The letter also said that the schools did not always contact
parents and involve them before suspensions were administered. It said that
while the schools made some attempts to direct students to so-called
alternative schools that house misbehaving kids, there was no evidence to
show they always made that effort. Richardson said in an interview that the
letter should at least lift any suspicion that the system was suspending poor
students just to boost test scores. "We looked at it from the perspective of
'did we have some people put in the closet so they couldn't take the test?'
We didn't find that was the case, not at all," Richardson said. Richardson
indicated he still has concerns whether the test score increases were
legitimate for some schools. Last June, Richardson said the abnormally high
test scores some schools made in Birmingham and around the state suggested
that cheating may have occurred. Last week, Richardson said about some of
Birmingham's scores: "Smoke is there. We just couldn't prove it." "We're not
certain if those increases are due to simply hard work," Richardson said of
scores in some city schools. "We hope they are." He said the next achievement
test in April will go a long way toward resolving the issue. "The next round
will confirm a lot of that. If we see the scores are still up somewhere in
that general range, fine," Richardson said. "But if they drop way back down
to where they were the year before in some cases, that will tell you
something." As they did last year, Birmingham school officials defended the
test scores. "We pulled out all the stops to help students and teachers be
successful. We worked morning, noon and night to do all we could to make sure
our teachers and students would know what to do on the test and succeed,"
said Abbe Boring, deputy Birmingham school superintendent. Dr. Boring said
that if the state officials still have concerns about what is going on in
Birmingham, they should send in monitors to watch on test days. She said the
state did that last year with no evidence that anyone cheated. Mallory Coats,
director of high schools for the system, became angry after being told of
Richardson's latest comments. "No one cheated," Coats said. "We worked hard
and in some schools we didn't make a lot of progress but we made some. ...
Did they expect us to go under?"
© <A HREF="http://www.al.com/bhamnews/bham.html"
;>The Birmingham News</A>. Used with permission
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