Lessons from the Atlanta cheating scandal

Staff-led cheating on standardized tests has been documented in 40 states and the District of Columbia
By: | Issue: May, 2015
April 8, 2015

When 11 former Atlanta Public Schools educators were convicted in March of racketeering for altering student standardized test scores in a systemic cheating scandal uncovered six years ago, it left many shocked and others concerned about the tests themselves.

State investigators concluded that cheating had occurred in at least 44 schools, with nearly 180 employees accused of fixing students’ incorrect answers and inflating test scores.

Though Atlanta was the most thoroughly investigated case, staff-led cheating on standardized tests has been documented in 40 states and the District of Columbia in the past five years, according to data collected by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.

“Atlanta is the tip of the iceberg,” says Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. “In order to stop test cheating once and for all, it will require stopping the misuse and overuse of standardized tests.”

Schaeffer recommends school leaders to:

Join other administrators who are pushing their state leaders to reduce the number of mandatory high stakes tests taken
Work with their school boards to reduce extraneous local tests