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FPS Response to Atlanta Journal Constitution Article

Posted by Alan on March 29, 2012 8:59 AM | (Not Filed) |

testtakers.pngThe following letter was sent to Fayetteville School District staff from Superintendent Vicki Thomas regarding media reports about suspicious test scores:


Dear Fayetteville School District Staff,
 
As we are gearing up for annual state assessments, an article appeared in the March 25, 2012 edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) reporting  that nearly 200 school districts throughout the United States have suspicious test score patterns.  The report is based "on an analysis of three reporters and two database specialists who spent five months collecting standardized test scores for 69,000 schools in 14,743 districts in 49 states." The analysis doesn't prove cheating, the newspaper's editors note, but it does "reveal the scores in hundreds of districts followed the same pattern that indicated cheating in multiple schools in Atlanta in 2008 and 2009." There has been some confusion about where our school district fell in the study and how we should interpret the results.
 
Some Arkansas media outlets are reporting that several Arkansas schools were included in the study.  Fayetteville School District is included in the study due to the size of our district and data available, not because there was any evidence that we should be investigated. Upon review of the data, we were pleased to discover and confirm what we already knew -  Fayetteville School District had no anomalies and no evidence of impropriety in how we administer assessments. Dr. Sarah McKenzie, Fayetteville School District's Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability, was interviewed by 40/29 TV on March 27 to explain why Fayetteville School District appeared on the list.
 
I want to assure all of our staff and our community that we take test security and ethical testing procedures as a top priority.  All test materials are kept highly secured and all teachers who administer such tests are trained in test security.  Any allegations of testing irregularities are thoroughly investigated.  If allegations are found to be true, appropriate disciplinary action is taken, up to and including termination of employment.
 
Our teachers, administrators and support staff work tirelessly to ensure that our students are well prepared to pass a state assessment and ready for their next level of endeavor. State assessment results are one piece of data that is used for diagnostic and prescriptive purposes as we plan for differentiated instruction. Hopefully, this information will help clarify any concerns that may arise from this article.
 
Thanks,

Vicki Thomas
Superintendent