AJC Report Sheds Light Into Suspicious Test Scores Nationwide

A recent news story published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looked at test results for 69,000 public schools in the country.

The research found great “concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast.”

WABE’s Rose Scott reports the AJC’s analysis is unprecedented and may be the most in-depth look into testing across the nation.

Atlanta’s widespread cheating scandal was without a doubt the education story of 2011.

What happened and who’s to blame were the questions on everyone’s mind.

It was called the biggest cheating scandal in American history.

But now that the AJC has analyzed 69,000 other public schools, the results may indicate a systemic problem that’s plaguing every state.

AJC editor Kevin Riley talked about the report at a luncheon for the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

He said in some schools the changes in test scores dramatically stood out, “there were some school districts where the chances when we worked with our experts, they said the chances of kids making this much change in test scores are like one in a billion, you and I could out and win the lottery – that would be more likely.”

Since the passing of No Child Left Behind, states were given the authority to test students in whatever form to assess their knowledge in subjects such as English, math or language arts.

Riley says AJC reporters worked on the story for six months and consulted four different independent academic experts that went over the findings with a “fine-toothed comb.”

“We have very much confidence in the data and the analysis”, says Riley.

Riley told WABE the results of the report do not prove cheating took place in these school districts. But Riley says it does challenge education leaders to put mechanisms in place to prevent cheating.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looked at 69,000 school districts.


Map of the AJC analysis showing which school systems show evidence of the kinds of indicators that preceded the Atlanta school cheating scandal.

Cheating Our Children: Suspicious school test scores across the nation, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 25, 2012