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The Arkansas Department of Education on Tuesday cited 58 public high schools for inflating the grades of 20 percent or more of their students in Algebra I and geometry last school year.

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Front Section, Pages 1 on 01/13/2010

Print Headline: 58 schools inflated grades in math, state agency says

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Archived Comments

  • HB4
    January 13, 2010 at 7:06 a.m.

    While I am not shocked at the possibility of inflated grades, I question the validity of this study. Could this phenomenon not be explained by some factor other than inflation?

    For example: Could the difference between grades and standardized test scores be attributed to bad test taking skills?

    I'm not saying that this is the case but the way it was reported leaves room for a lot of questions.

  • Spadata
    January 13, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.

    There will be screaming, ranting and raving from the guilty schools - especially from the guilty schools! Tests are the norm for measuring knowledge and skill. If you cannot take tests for any reason, it is not a negative for that person, but an indication that perhaps, that person should continue education on with a more useful job training program instead of an academic.
    Our schools are graduating people who cannot read, write, or even SPEAK proper English.

  • JRS
    January 13, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.

    It is what it is. Schools don't take the time to even teach mathmetics. I would guess half the students in the state cannot even say the times tables from 1x1 thru 12x12, because they aren't taught this anymore. They are allowed to use a Casio in class for multipling and dividing. There is very little explaining in class; it's just, here's your homework, do it. Kids graduate high school, and they can't even count their change from McDonalds..it needs to get better.oh well!

  • Skill
    January 13, 2010 at 10:35 a.m.

    The thing that I think is funny is the fact that we are looking at statistics here, and the article does not mention the words "mean" or "standard deviation". It is merely assumed that the "malicious factor" was involved on the part of the schools that had a higher percentage of A/B students who did not score at a proficient level on a single instance of a test.

    This is from the ADoE. Hmmm... makes you want to call for the resignation from all the officials in charge of this report, doesn't it? This represents more of our tax dollars being put into the modern vortex machine. In my view, it gives us nothing.

  • Barmus
    January 13, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.

    If you teach Junior and Senior level courses at a college or university and discover that the majority of your students cannot figure a percentage change, you know that somebody has screwed-up somewhere, big time.

  • Testingonetwothree
    January 13, 2010 at 12:01 p.m.

    "58 public high schools for inflating the grades of 20 percent or more of their students in Algebra I and geometry last school year."

    Typically the majority of students today are taking Algebra and Geometry in the Jr High 8th and 9th grades
    So the kids taking it at the high school level are probably course repeaters or slow math students
    and are not really expected to pass as proficent
    I would like to see the total # of students at a school that take the tests (including Jr High) and then do the percentages, I believe we would see a big difference then
    for example NETTLETON HIGH SCHOOL had 24 kids with B's or better and 8 didnt score proficient out of a total enrollment of 667...that tells me that most of their students took the tests in Jr High school
    Lets compare apples to apples....compare the entire schools proficiency rating with the entire student body

  • DARK0NE
    January 13, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.

    I'm actually surprised the problem of inflating grades isn't higher. This report clearly indicates there are those who would,"game", the system to their advantage.
    The Legislature should impose a carrot system for the reporting school districts who are doing things right.

    WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO BETTER RECOGNIZE AND REWARD THOSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHO ARE DOING WELL ACADEMICALLY. It will do more to correct the problem than anything else.

    Its too bad we as adults continue to place so much emphasis on sports rather than academics in our public schools. I can only imagine how much better educated our students would be if even a portion of available resouces were diverted from sports programs to improving intellectual development. Its a national problem to be sure.

  • Workingpayingtaxes
    January 13, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.

    I am with DARKONE in that I am surprised grade inflation is not more common. Faced with leaving no child behind the schools will manipulate the data or distort the system. In this case they have either inflated grades or lowered the standards for what it takes to get A's or B's. Either way, the results are the same. Uneducated kids.

    What I wonder is it the teachers or the administration at the schools pushing the teachers? You can't argue with the test scores when greater than 50% of your A and B students don't meet the proficient level on a standardized test. Sure, some of those can be attributed to poor test taking abilities, but how then did they earn A's or B's in class?

  • ladykelien
    January 13, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.

    Actually Reward and punishment doesn't work for adults. We are treating Teachers like children and they are, like Children, taking advantage of the situation.

    Give schools who are doing poorly more money and more schools will do poorly to get that money on purpose. Demand that they do better to get the money, and they will cheat to make it look like they are doing better. As long as performance and money are linked cheating is going to happen.

    So far the only people I can see being punished for this fraud is the students. They can't have the help going to college they were told they earned unless they pass another test proving they actually earned it. But, where is the punishment for the teachers?

    All public schools are anymore, is a place to drop off kids so that the parents can work without it costing them an arm and a leg to do it. Everytime, I see one of my children struggle to learn something new, I wonder if I did the right thing by deciding to homeschool. Yet, somehow every time I start to worry, an article like this comes out and reminds me of how horrible Arkansas Schools really are.

    If we were to attach the funding for a childs education to the child. Every child gets the same amount of money regardless of where they live. Then, we tell parents, put them in any school you like. If they don't do the job they are suppose to do to your standards and liking then take your child and that money and go to a new school. When schools know that they have to do their job to keep the money. They will be much more likely to do that job. And Parents are in a much better postion to decide if they are doing their job than some goverment workers looking at standized test scores.

  • chuck62
    January 13, 2010 at 3:59 p.m.

    Benton High, my son's school, had no grade inflation and scored highest in the state in Geometry. However, to the best of my knowledge, there have only been 2 A's recorded during the current school term. I wonder if the state is encouraging "grade deflation." It would seem more fair to allow inflation of grades by students who put forth the academic effort but didn't score proficient on the state exams to be offet by deflation of those who scored proficient but couldn't make the grade. After all, are we less interested in good teaching than in matching student grades to standardized tests? If so, let's just give students the standardized tests and assign their grades accordingly.

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