Blog: The Educated Reporter

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘Cheating Series Methodology is Valid’

I received the following statement from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in response to Thursday’s Educated Reporter blog about criticism of the newspaper’s “Cheating Our Children” series:

“The criticisms that have emerged about our methodology are similar to those we heard from Atlanta when we first began writing about cheating in 2008 and 2009. They are similar to what the Dallas Morning News heard when they wrote about cheating in 2004. The chief complaint — that we are identifying districts with high student mobility, not suspicious test-taking — is not supported by the data. The data shows no correlation between high mobility and more suspicious test scores.
Statistical and erasure analyses are always simply screening tools — they don’t tell you what happened or who changed answers. It is incumbent on states and districts to take the information and investigate. That’s what happened in Georgia and some districts and states we highlighted in our stories have said that is what they plan to do.
Others have chosen not to look more closely at suspicious test scores, but rather to attack the methodology.”

To be sure, the AJC’s project has launched some deep ripples in the pond, and I’m interested in seeing how local school districts — and education researchers — continue to respond.


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