Friday, July 13, 2007

The hazards of testmania

There is nothing that bothers me more than cheating among students, so it's pretty hard to excuse this guy.

An Amarillo teacher leaked a portion of this spring's TAKS writing test to his colleagues because he wanted his school's students to have a better chance at passing, a state investigation has found.

The teacher said that he leaked the information because he believed that educators in other districts were doing the same and that Amarillo students were "as deserving of prior knowledge of TAKS test information as students" in those other Texas districts, according to an investigative report released by the Texas Education Agency.

Yikes! He actually sounds like some of the kids I've caught.

David Tamez, an elementary bilingual teacher, told investigators that he obtained the test information by volunteering to serve on a statewide committee of educators who help determine which questions make it onto the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills each year, the report states. He alleged that members of those committees regularly smuggle out secret TAKS information to share in their home districts – a contention TEA officials vigorously dispute.

"You know good and well what people are doing," Mr. Tamez said, according to a tape recording of his interview with investigators. "They're writing down prompts; they're writing down information."

The TEA inspector general's office is recommending a further investigation to determine whether Mr. Tamez's claims of widespread improprieties are valid.

This guy sounds like an excellent candidate to get out of teaching. It's hard enough to get kids to see cheating as wrong without having people like him in the field. Although I'm not as opposed to testing as some other people, this is definitely a hazard of our increased reliance on it.

9 Comments:

Blogger Blackbriar said...

Did the kids know they're "cheating"? I'm not sure the kids even know they've done wrong.

7/13/2007 5:50 PM  
Blogger Ms. Longhorn LOVES Math! said...

Wow, that is a huge error in judgement. He is worse than some of the kids! At least my kids don't blame their cheating on someone else!

You know things are messed up with TAKS when teachers are doing that!

7/13/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger ms-teacher said...

you might be interested in this article.

Unfortunately this is what happens when test scores become the only way to show that students are learning. It is the only thing that matters.

7/13/2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

When teachers and school principals are judged by students' test scores (as I believe is the case under No Child Left Behind) and funding is at risk, it's only logical that there will be cheating, stealing and fraud to raise test scores.

By the way, I just posted an anecdote on my blog I'd be interested in your opinion on.

7/14/2007 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, the way this test impropriety was caught is that the teachers Tamez gave the prompt to reported him, as they are required to do. Amarillo ISD completed and submitted their investigation to TEA within six days and Tamez resigned his teaching position during the course of the investigation.

As someone who is in the area (I live in the district directly to the south of Amarillo ISD), I can truly say that we take test security very seriously. I have no doubt that my district would fire any individual that willingly violated test security. They certainly drive that point home during every training session for test administration.

7/14/2007 7:07 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous, I take it you're not buying Mr. Tamez'z good ol' "everybody's doing it" argument. Once again, this guy sounds more like a high school student than a teacher.

7/15/2007 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Mr. C. said...

Dennis-

I absolutely do not buy Tamez's "everyone's doing it"! :-) He actually sounds worse that a high school student because some of them would actually own up to what they were doing. Personally, I think he should be taken behind the wood shed and beaten!

OK, maybe that's a little harsh, but I honestly cannot fathom why TEA hasn't stripped him of his teaching certificate. Whenever we come within 20 feet of testing materials, we are required to sign an oath of confidentiality, that specifically says that we understand that our teaching certificates can be taken for violating test security.

7/15/2007 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The saddest part is that he still has his teaching certificate and was hired by Deady Middle School in Houston.

7/19/2007 9:25 AM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Mr. C. and Anonymous, I hate to beat up too badly on this guy because I'm so far from the situation, but it would be interesting to hear the rationale for not yanking his teaching certificate, and especially, for hiring him.

7/21/2007 7:32 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home