Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bump that Troublemaker Upstairs (Slightly)

M. Catharine Evans and Ann Kane:

During that time the OSSE, headed by Deborah Gist, recommended that test scores at particular schools, like the highly touted Noyes Education Center, be investigated due to huge gains in proficiency rates.  Noyes math scores alone increased from 22% for the fourth-grade class in 2007 to 84% in 2008.

Gist eventually asked McGraw-Hill to conduct an erasure analysis in 2008.  McGraw-Hill flagged the most extreme cases of wrong-to-right erasures.  Out of 96 schools flagged, eight campuses were the recipients of more than $1.5 million in bonuses from Rhee for high test scores.  None of the schools flagged were investigated in 2008.

D.C. public school officials resisted Gist's efforts to validate the scores.  Documents obtained by USA Today showed that the chancellor's office, headed by Rhee and Henderson, was reluctant to investigate.  Rhee's data and accountability officer employed stall tactics as well, ostensibly so DCPS could "be confident in the data provided" because of "the disruption and alarm an investigation would likely create."

Gist wrote to area schools requesting that they conduct their own examination of test anomalies.  She eventually resigned in April 2009.  Her successor, Kelli Briggs, who served a short term, dropped Gist's recommendations.

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