School teachers cheating on standardized tests and being caught by the data is very straightforward.
- School teachers cheat – The lowest measure of teacher cheating by an education group concluded: “3 to 6 percent” “teachers or administrators’ doctoring students’ exams.” Statistics are worse in Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington DC.
- If you think this is complicated cheating, it is not. It is a few teachers erasing/replacing scores of some students, at the *end* of tests in most cases. If you retest the same group, they do no better on the test than you would have expected without the cheating.
Here’s what the data says about finding cheating by some school teachers:
- It happens and if you think it doesn’t you are wrong.
- It is usually only a few teachers
- It is in the lowest performing “normal” classroom teachers.
- The hardest situation is ‘multi-grade’ test taker groups. “On the one hand, classrooms that performed poorly the previous year were much more likely to cheat. For example, a classroom that scored one standard deviation below average the previous year was 23 percent more likely to cheat the next year.
- Teachers who administered the exam to their own students were approximately 50 percent more likely to cheat.
Steven Levitt and Brian Jacob are both very talented economists, and you should read their books and magazines. Much of the above comes from their articles cited above, and Freakonomics is an all-grown-up look at what economic measuring tools can do to expose incentives and human behavior. Chapter 1 on Chicago school cheating is a great primer!