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Brian Jacob quoted in Christian Science Monitor article, "America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brian Jacob was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article on a major cheating scandal currently unfolding in the Atlanta Public School system.

According to Governor Nathan Deal, the school district's major gains reported on Georgia standardized tests were the result of a widespread phenomenon of score-fixing among teachers and administrators. The district has won national acclaim, as well as funding from several major philanthropic foundations, over the course of the last decade, largely for these gains. Its superintendent, Beverly Hall, was named 2009 Superintendent of the Year.

Jacob sees the scandal as emblematic of the problems raised by the the lack of adequate oversight in the processing of test scores, especially in situations like Georgia's, where reliance on those scores in teacher evaluations creates a very high-pressure environment. "In some sense, this is one of the least worrisome problems in public education, because it's fairly easy to fix," he told the Christian Science Monitor. "The more difficult and troubling behavior would be teaching to the test, which we think of as a lesser form of test manipulation, but which is much harder to detect, and could warp the education process in ways that we wouldn't like."