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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DC CAS Test Integrity Investigation Identifies Critical Irregularities at Two Charter Schools


DC’s state education agency, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), released today the results (above) of their annual testing integrity study.  This study examined testing irregularities at 195 schools, DCPS and charter, on the 2013 statewide assessment – the DC CAS.

The investigation includes selecting groups for further analysis by two methods: at random, and based on a statistical methodology. The findings placed school violations in three categories:

  • Critical, which includes test tampering or academic fraud;
  • Moderate, which includes anomalies with defined violations but not test tampering or fraud; and
  • Minor, with procedural infractions.  

PCSB takes test assessment administration very seriously, as the results are used in our Performance Management Framework (PMF) to determine school academic performance. In addition to OSSE’s test monitoring, PCSB received OSSE test observation training and observed an additional 12 schools during the 2013 test administration, sharing our observations and work with OSSE. We will continue offering this additional oversight this year.

The testing report defines irregularities as wrong-to-right erasures, score variation within classrooms, as well as unusual gains or declines from 2012 to 2013.  Flagged irregularities were followed up by on-site investigations at schools and interviews, leading to final determinations.

The results show that testing groups in two public charter schools had critical violations: Ideal PCS and César Chávez PCS for Public Policy – Parkside Middle.  The DC CAS results will be invalidated and the school will be required to create an corrective action plan, and will have enhanced monitoring during the 2014 DC CAS testing period, which starts later this month.

There were testing groups at five public charter schools with moderate violations: Achievement Prep PCS; César Chávez PCS for Public Policy – Parkside High; Maya Angelou PCS; Paul PCS; and Perry Street Prep PCS

There were three charter schools that had testing groups with minor findings: Community Academy PCS; Options PCS and Friendship PCS - Technology Prep Academy.

PCSB’s approach with the affected schools is initially to reach out to those schools’ boards of trustees to learn what steps they are taking to address the violations and to ensure that these steps are commensurate with the gravity of the violation. Ideal PCS and Perry Street PCS recently underwent 15-year charter renewals and were renewed for an additional 15 years. We are eager for OSSE to recalculate the median growth percentiles and proficiency scores for these schools and will make a determination of possible consequences once we see the results.  We may also discuss this issue at our next monthly board meeting.

Beyond these specific cases, there are common-sense steps schools can take to reduce the likelihood of test violations in a single testing group.  These include having a different test monitor than the person who normally teaches this class. 

We appreciate the thoroughness of the security investigations by OSSE and we see the results with fewer schools each year being found with any issues.

School Summary Reports

Achievement Prep PCS 

 View Report 

 Maya Angelou PCS

 View Report

 César Chávez PCS for Public Policy - Parkside Middle

 View Report

 César Chávez PCS for Public Policy - Parkside High

 View Report

 Friendship PCS - Technology Prep Academy

 View Report

 Ideal Academy PCS

 View Report

 Options PCS

 View Report

 Paul PCS 

 View Report

 Perry Street Prep PCS 

 View Report

 Community Academy PCS - Amos 

 View Report

Naomi Rubin DeVeaux is PCSB's Deputy Director. She leads the School Performance Department, which is made of up of four teams that are responsible for the development and implementation of qualitative and quantitative tools to evaluate DC’s public charter schools. 

Posted by: Naomi Rubin DeVeaux at 5:36 p.m.
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