Putting Education Reform To The Test

Will Florida Cheat Too?

Miami Herald

Fred Grimm

Florida is tempting cheating by basing teacher salaries on the results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, Fred Grimm opines in the Miami Herald today.

Lawmakers required school districts create pay-for-performance systems where at least half a teacher’s evaluation is determined by an FCAT score. That sets Florida up for the same type of systematic cheating seen in Atlanta and under investigation in Pennsylvania schools, Grimm argues.

“Merit raises (the only raises permissible under the new Florida law) will ratchet up the temptation, warned Arizona State University professor Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, who has spent years studying the unintended consequences of high-stakes student testing. She said Wednesday that “it’s pretty clear” that the more consequences states tie to the outcome of the standardized tests, particularly merit pay or cash bonuses, the more cheating we’re likely to see.

Amrein-Beardsley led a team that surveyed 3,000 Arizona teachers. In her study, published last year, more than half admitted to manipulating the test scores on the Arizona standardized tests.”

Do you agree with Grimm? What other ways might FCAT and merit pay requirements change behavior?


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