Whitfield Co. Supt. Responds to Test Score Probe - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Whitfield Co. Supt. Responds to Test Score Probe

By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

DALTON, GA (WRCB)- Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Katie Brochu responded Thursday to a report indicating that one of the county's schools, Eastside Elementary, was in the "moderate concern" category in a recent study of potentially tainted test scores.

According to spokesperson Eric Beavers, "The 2009 CRCT Erasure Analysis commissioned by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement showed that Eastside Elementary is in the moderate concern category  with 11.1 percent of its classrooms flagged.  The threshold was 11 
percent."

Supt. Brochu sent the following letter to school district employees:

We received information from an academic audit commissioned by the Governor's Office of

Student Achievement titled "Comprehensive 2009 CRCT Analysis." The audit is based on a

review of all of the CRCT tests given to Georgia students in grades 1 through 8 in the spring of

2009, or approximately 129,000 tests.

We have the utmost confidence in our employees and believe our teachers and staff are

focused on our core business of designing meaningful, challenging, and engaging work for

students. We appreciate the professionalism and trust in the integrity and confidence our staff

exhibits at all levels. We firmly believe that those who administer and monitor tests in Whitfield

County Schools apply all of their integrity to their work.

In recent years, we have seen the ethics of educators in some Georgia school districts called

into question, which may have prompted the Governor's Office of Student Achievement to

broaden the scope of its search for issues in the name of accountability.

The intention of the audit is to investigate the possibility that some tests were tampered

with; specifically, that some answers from the reading, English/Language arts, and mathematics

subjects were changed from wrong to right to make their students' performance appear better

than it should have been.

While we have received the findings of the audit, we do not know the standards used to

conduct the audit. In fact, it leaves a number of questions such as:

• With all of the fiscal challenges Georgia school districts are facing, particularly with the

funding cuts recently proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, what was the cost of this audit?

• How much will it cost local school districts to conduct the investigations mandated by

the Governor's Office of Student Achievement?

• What were the standards of the audit? What counts as an erasure? How many total

erasures were recorded, even if they were from right to wrong answers?

While on the topic of fiscal challenges, we have not yet made a decision about modifying the

work calendar to account for Gov. Sonny Perdue's call to reduce school funding equal to

another three days of pay. We are watching the legislature as they work on the 2011 budget and

watching other school districts in Georgia to monitor their response to the governor's proposed

funding cuts. We know how important each of your jobs is to our students.

We believe in you. Side by side, we will continue blazing a trail by continually assessing the

state of Whitfield County Schools and seeking innovative ways to mitigate the financial impact

of decisions made at the state and federal level.

We appreciate the devotion of our staff to serving the students of Whitfield County Schools.

We are watching you too and we are proud of what we see. We see staff members taking great

strides to ensure students are safe. We see teachers working far beyond the end of the school day

to design the kind of work that engages students and makes them want to come to school.

While the CRCT is just one snapshot of academic performance, we hold other evidence of

student achievement in higher esteem. We see that attendance and graduation rates are up

while discipline referrals are down. We hear from parents who say their child comes home

excited about school and can't wait until the next day.

We'll leave you with a few words from one of our own teachers:

 

Again, thank you for all that you do. We are proud of you and thankful that you made the

right choice.

Sincerely,

Whitfield County Schools Board of Education,

Superintendent Katie Brochu, &

Central Administration

"Teaching places demands on us that require us to respond with our entire being—body, mind,

and spirit. During these difficult times when morale seems low, recall why you became a teacher and the

times that you have known that it was the right choice."

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