At the recent Board meeting, I provided an update on the progress and continued efforts of APS to provide resources and necessary remediation for students directly impacted by CRCT cheating back in 2009. When I joined the District last summer, I was committed to knowing exactly what APS was doing for those students still in the district and, if possible, even those who had left APS.
As a result, before the start of this school year, APS commissioned Professor Tim R. Sass at Georgia State University to complete a study on the CRCT irregularities. Dr. Sass’s study identified 3,728 current APS students in grades 7-10 who may have experienced long-term effects. The long-term impacts appear to be related to grade level (in 2009), subject area, and the degree of teacher interference with students’ tests. Specifically, the impacts may be most significant for students who in 2009 were in grades 1-2 and for reading and ELA (e.g., compared to math). Within this group, 1825 students (who are currently enrolled primarily in grades 7-11) experienced the greatest manipulation of their test scores, with 10 or more “wrong-to-right” erasures on their 2009 CRCT exam.
Dr. Sass submitted his final report to APS on May 5, 2015. We now plan to use this study to provide baseline data to track every single one of these students through graduation.
First, let me summarize the work and progress to date.
Remediation began soon after the cheating came to light. According to APS records, during the 2009-2010 school year APS implemented a 12-week accelerated academic recovery program for students scoring below proficient on the spring 2010 CRCT at the 58 schools identified by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The program served 5,423 students.
In an attempt to restore credibility to the District’s student achievement data and provide reliable information to better serve students, in spring 2011, APS implemented an online, nationally normed computer adaptive assessment system to provide independent validation of state and local test results.
After 2010, APS implemented additional programs and interventions to try to meet the needs of students who may have been impacted. This included adoption of an Accelerated Intervention Plan (AIP) that comprised a mandatory school day component, afterschool enrichment, a Saturday academy and parent workshops.
Over the past school year, APS implemented district-wide intervention programs in reading and mathematics, unit recovery programs for students in grades 6 through 12, and flexible scheduling options. While these programs are designed for all students who are not succeeding academically, or who are already out of school, or are at risk of dropping out— they should also assist those students who may have been impacted by cheating.
These remedial and flexible scheduling programs include: adaptive (functional level) Reading Plus and ALEKS Math programs for students needing remedial assistance; an online curriculum recovery program for students who are falling behind in specific classes and courses; a large increase in students participating in Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA) courses; mandatory credit recovery periods during the school day at every high school; expansion of evening credit recovery opportunities to more schools; and implementation of dropout recovery plans for students who have left school. The dropout recovery plans include options such as returning to school, night programs, GED, and Job Corp programs.
APS Student Services programs also offer other supports for kids and families, such as wraparound services, social work intervention (e.g. attendance and crisis), counselor support (e.g., attendance, individual graduation planning, and academic supports), behavior support personnel, and graduation coaches.
Although remediation, to date, has been provided to a broad swath of underperforming students, we must now make certain that the students directly impacted are being served, and ensure that, where needed, additional supports and services are provided to assist these students through graduation.
Through the Georgia State study and work by the Chief Accountability and Information Officer, Bill Caritj, and his team, we have identified every student to track their progress, evaluate the services they’ve received to date and consider any other remediation program they need to keep them on the path to graduation.
Mr. Caritj and his team will provide a more thorough report on this matter at the Board meeting in June as well our plan to assist students who may have been negatively impacted by the cheating in 2009.
While we must continue to address the impacted students’ needs and ensure they are supported through graduation, from Day One this administration has supported a student-centered agenda and is focused on our mission to create a caring culture of trust and collaboration, where every student will graduate ready for college and career.