Thursday, June 11, 2009

Test cheating probe...How?

With all the extremely highly paid administrators and their fancy school improvement programs, the Gloria Talley's, the Audria Berry's, the Bob Mosely, etc., HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN???!!! Where are the checks & balances? DCSS Central Office is bloated, ineffective and out of touch.

DeKalb principal at school in CRCT probe resigns

A principal has resigned and an assistant principal is under investigation at a DeKalb County school implicated by the state in a possible test cheating probe.

Former Atherton Elementary School Principal James Berry and Assistant Principal Doretha Alexander now face accusations of cheating from system officials.

“Atherton is a great school. It’s got great students. It’s got great teachers,” DeKalb chief deputy superintendent Robert Moseley said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

Moseley said no student and “no teacher has been implicated in this mess. It’s all the principal and assistant principal. Cheating? Yes, and that is an understatement. It’s the students who were cheated by the administrators.”

According to state and local officials, preliminary audit results by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement reveal that someone at Atherton and three other Georgia schools deliberately changed students’ answers last summer on fifth-grade standardized math retests.

At Atherton, half of the DeKalb school’s fifth-graders failed a yearly state test in the spring. When the 32 students took retests, not only did every one of them pass — 26 scored at the highest level.


Anonymous said...

I have been told that Dr. Audria Berry (Executive Director of DeKalb County SES/Title 1) is the wife of the former CRCT cheating principal of Atherton Elementary, Dr. James Berry. Say it isn't so! If it is, WOW!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if she is or not; either way, what a shame!!! These are educators who should be dedicated to helping the students in their charge. This is absolute disgrace, not only to DeKalb County, but to the educational system as a whole. Where are the checks and balances? Perhaps they have worked to some degree - Dr. James Berry is out! I am sure there are plenty others; I hope someone is watching. What an injustice this is to the students who desperately need the academic assistance.

fedupindcss said...

Wow. Berry must have gotten some serious threat made about his professional future to have taken such an extreme action. Anyone on the blog familiar with Atherton?

Makes you wonder how many others are out there who just didn't get caught.

Anonymous said...

"preliminary audit results by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement"

They were caught by the State of Georgia, not anyone internally from DCSS. What the heck does DCSS Internal Affairs head ROn Ramsey do when he's not down at the Gold Dome? When Atherton's scores went up so high, where was Gloria Talley, Bob Mosley, C Lew, etc.???

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

Haven't you heard about James Berry before?

He was Band Director at SWD. Word is that he took thousands of Band Booster cash and used it for NOT boosting the band.

He was Assistant Principal at Redan HS. While on its payroll, word is that he left his supervisory duties unfulfilled while he went downtown to get paid BIG BUCKS as a consultant on the movie "Drumline."

He was Assistant Principal at Murphy Chandler when the Principal was caught in the wee hours in the p-lot near the school getting peewee ministered to by an underage boy. Word is that he was so upset that he wasn't the underage boy that he turned the principal in.

And, who can forget that this is not the first time James Berry has made the news about test irregularities.

He should have been fired.

Cerebration said...

Kudos to the AJC! This is that school that had the "miracle" turnaround in their test scores last year... We had made a commitment to follow up on their testing this year - but I guess we don't have to bother researching that anymore.

How despicable. How does cheating on tests help these children? I remember this guy in the news at the time of the miracle -- very defensive! He claimed that it was all due to the teachers working very hard on certain lessons. More than that - I remember Dr. Lewis - who was almost more defensive - stating that basically, the people who had suspicions were prejudiced - that no one will believe that black children can study hard and turn it around.

Check out the history -

Surge in CRCT results raises ‘big red flag’
Dec 15, 2008
Article posted Dec. 14, 2008

A miracle occurred at Atherton Elementary this summer, if its standardized math test scores are to be believed.

Half of the DeKalb County school’s fifth-graders failed a yearly state test in the spring. When the 32 students took retests, not only did every one of them pass — 26 scored at the highest level.

No other Georgia fifth grade pulled off such a feat in the past three years. It was, as one researcher put it, as extraordinary as a snowstorm in July. In Atlanta.

Atherton Principal James Berry said the scores were the product of intense tutoring.

But state education officials said last week they will investigate steep gains at Atherton and four other schools as a result of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s inquiries. ...

Atherton originally placed in the 10th percentile among Georgia fifth grades on the math test, meaning 90 percent of the 1,200-plus schools scored better, the newspaper’s study shows.

After the retest, Atherton jumped to the 77th percentile. The move was unduplicated by any school statewide.

The Atherton student with what was likely the biggest gain answered just 16 math questions correctly his first time taking the test — a slightly better result than a student could expect after guessing on all 60 multiple-choice questions.

On the retest, however, the unidentified boy joined the ranks of high scorers, answering 50 questions correctly. Students needed 29 right to pass. ...

Asked whether he had any concerns about test security or score validity, Berry said: “Oh my God, I hope not. I know the people that I chose were pretty honest. I would hope that that wasn’t the case. Well, I can honestly say to you that I don’t think that that was the case at all.”

Cerebration said...

Dr. Lewis, Dr. Berry and the leadership of DCSS should be ashamed that they are more concerned with how they look - and keeping their jobs - that they are actually willing to sacrifice the education of these children!

The denial runs deep in DCSS. Just teach the children please! They deserve a quality education - not to be used to line the pockets of such a top-heavy administration who can't even be bothered with investigating the validity of such an obvious fake. Now that Anon12.08 has clued us in to the history of this principal, I'm even more appalled - how could Lewis have left him in the system for all this time? How many children have been cheated out of a REAL education due to his selfishness?

themommy said...

First, does anyone know if Anon at 5:47 pm is correct? If so, this is very disturbing. I was actually coming to ask the same question.

If Anon 12:08 is correct and all those accusations are true -- man, someones head should roll.

Finally, this wasn't caught by the state DOE, rather the AJC. It was caught because for the first time last year (07-08) summer retest could be used to qualify for AYP -- so the paper had an easy list to work from since the paper could simply work from the schools that made AYP after the retest.

It makes me wonder how much of this has been going on in previous years. (not related to the retest but the original test.)

themommy said...

I watched the State Board meeting yesterday where the state made the presentation. They examined 600 schools and only found these 4. I do believe that most aren't cheating.

On top of how bad cheating is, it is clear that whoever cheated at these schools is dumber than a doorbell. For crying out loud, whichever adult did this at each of these schools, erased answers. At Atherton, that ranged from 8 to 46 answers that were changed.

On top of that, the Atherton administration got greedy and these kids jumped from level 1 (below grade level) to level 3-- exceeding expectations.

In South Carolina, right now, there are criminal cases proceeding against educators for similar actions. I would like to see the same things here.

If you go to on the bottom right hand side, you can read the entire audit. I thought it was fascinating about how they caught these schools.

themommy said...

Atherton Principal James Berry said the scores were the product of intense tutoring.

Ok, at the meeting yesterday, the GAOSA person stated that at all 4 schools, the summer school program was shared with other schools. The students from each of the schools were in classrooms with students from other schools and didn't all have the same teachers. The improvement seen at these 4 schools were not shared by the other students from the other schools.

Ella Smith said...

How embarassing for Dekalb County. The county was very defensive about the situation.

These individuals will lose their license to teach or be a principal. It is a sad day that this happened for the school system.

Cerebration said...

They'd damn well better lose their license - and be grateful if that's all...

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

A positive thing for James Berry. Word is he played flute before Queen Elizabeth.


Cerebration said...

"In both reading and mathematics, Atherton teachers were required to use a scripted program called ““Ladders to Success”” to prepare students for the CRCT retest. ““Ladders to Success”” was used throughout the county at each summer school program. Mathematics teachers in particular at Atherton found no reason to customize lesson plans, focus instruction on questions students had missed on the spring CRCT administration, or otherwise veer from the script; in fact, they were discouraged from doing so. They were expected to follow the ““Ladders to Success”” lesson plans very closely. Atherton’s summer school students were provided appropriate instructional time. They were taught and tested in small groups in three different classrooms by three different mathematics teachers. Students who needed to take only one subject retest (i.e. reading and/or mathematics) received a half day of instruction each day in that subject for four weeks, while students who needed to take two subject retests received a whole day of instruction every day during the four weeks.

The small groups allowed Atherton’s 5th grade teachers ample opportunity to observe students closely during the CRCT retest. Each teacher conveyed that students worked through the retest smoothly, did not ask questions, did not appear to have difficulty bubbling answers, and did not appear to change many answers."

(So obviously - the students didn't do the erasing - and it doesn't look like the teachers did either.)

"GOSA also inquired as to why the 5th grade students at Atherton were considerably more successful in mathematics than the students in other grade levels. In 2007-08, the failure rates by grade level on the CRCT in mathematics at Atherton were as follows:
32% of first graders did not meet standards
33% of second graders did not meet standards
69% of third graders did not meet standards
57% of fourth graders did not meet standards
0% of fifth graders did not meet standards; (100% of fifth graders passed the mathematics CRCT)

GOSA recognizes that 5th grade students’ mathematics retest scores were included in state reporting while other grades were not, but the large gap in scores between grade levels cannot be explained plausibly by that circumstance alone."

..."The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) is the agency responsible for enforcing the Code of Ethics for Educators. It has the statutory authority to enforce those guidelines by investigating complaints related to educators’ behavior. The PSC is empowered to impose disciplinary sanctions when appropriate, including the revocation of educators’ teaching certificates. The PSC accompanied GOSA as a consultant to all of the audit interviews."

Cerebration said...

Atherton Elementary School The summer school program at Atherton Elementary was one of 158 summer school sites throughout DeKalb County in the summer of 2008. Each of the 158 sites used a scripted mathematics program called “Ladders to Success” to prepare students for the CRCT retest. Teachers at Atherton taught the program exactly as they were asked to do, and exactly as educators at the other 157 summer school sites were also asked to do. If “Ladders to Success” were in and of itself a truly remarkable program, GOSA would expect to see similar gains across all summer school programs in DeKalb. That did not happen. In fact, Atherton earned gains at approximately 8.5 standard deviations above the state average, far more than any other elementary school in DeKalb County. Given the results of GCA’s erasure analysis and the unusually high gains made over the spring CRCT administration, GOSA finds overwhelming evidence to show that someone who had access to test materials after testing concluded changed multiple students’ answers on the 5th grade CRCT at Atherton Elementary.

Cerebration said...

GOSA Preliminary Recommendations that do not Require Action by the State Board of Education

1. DeKalb, Atlanta, Fulton, and Glynn School Systems should assign an administrator from the central office to monitor the spring and summer CRCT testing process at Atherton Elementary, Deerwood Academy, Parklane Elementary, and Burroughs-Molette Elementary during the 2009 and 2010 school years.

3. DeKalb and Atlanta should consider revising their test material collection procedures so that the school system collects the test materials from schools rather than allowing school administrators to deliver the materials to the warehouse or central office repository.

5. DeKalb and Fulton should log the time that they receive test materials from each school.

7. DeKalb should not allow schools to hold test materials over a weekend. Test schedules should be arranged such that tests can always be returned on a weekday within 24 hours of the conclusion of testing.

8. Glynn must revise its policies and related enforcement procedures to ensure that a) only certified administrators are assigned as summer school administrators; b) all summer school administrators receive personal training on test administration procedures; c) all summer school employees receive training on testing procedures; d) clerical staff are not permitted to handle test materials at any time, even if only to hand materials over to a test collection courier.

pscexb said...

This is truly a sad situation :(. Not only should these administrators lose their license, they should probably also lose their pension. IMO, that would send a STRONG message to others.

This is also being discussed on the AJC GetSchooled blog at:

I also agree with several comments made there, high stakes tests is the root of this problem. I believe there are a LOT of good administrators and teachers doing their best in classrooms in DeKalb and around the country. Unfortunately many are faced with situations that include students that are either unprepared or don't care along with parents that feel the responsibility is solely that of the school. At the same time, there are some administrators and teachers that should not go near any classroom and may cause some students to lose their love for school.

Is there are silver bullet, secret sauce, or special recipe for preventing situations like Atherton? I'm not sure but I can't let this discourage me from looking for answers.

Cerebration said...

Sorry for the long comments - but I figured I'd pull the relevant DeKalb items from the report so that you all don't have to read the whole thing. Thanks for the link, themommy!

Cerebration said...

psc - we have to remember - Atherton is only one of 158 summer school sites - no one else showed any signs of cheating. Most schools and administrators in DCSS follow the rules.

I don't know if you noticed, but the failure rates at Atherton are abysmal in all grades (well, except 5th). I'm surprised Dr. Lewis would leave such a terrible principal in there - he had made no motion to dismiss or demote Berry. In fact, he vehemently defended him right after the testing - insisting that he (Ramsey?) had done an internal investigation and found no wrong-doing.

32% of first graders did not meet standards
33% of second graders did not meet standards
69% of third graders did not meet standards
57% of fourth graders did not meet standards
0% of fifth graders did not meet standards;

I hate it when they stick together to protect their jobs at the expense of the kids.

pscexb said...

Cere, you are absolutely right! Some may attempt to say this is simply the action of a 'rogue' principal. It is fair to ask Dr. Lewis about keeping Dr. Berry in place given the suspicions from last year along with the scores from this year. It should not have been difficult to look at last years 4th grade scores for the current 5th graders and 'project' what a reasonable score would be.

fedupindcss said...

Many of us have noticed that Dr. Lewis gets very defensive when challenged, so the merits of the question tend to go by the wayside in his attempt to not look wrong.

themommy said...

Allright, last night, I posted under the wrong blog entry-- but the adults in these incidents need to be fired not allowed to resign. I attend to let my board member know this -- this is an important difference.

Secondly, lost in much of our discussion yesterday was the children. These 32 children would have entered middle school with no intervention plan. Not only that, if someone looked at their scores, they would have thought they had mastered 5th grade math. However, I would think that within a few days, a teacher might have caught on. This leads me to some more questions:

Is Atherton a high mobility school? How many of those students are still in DCSS schools?

How long has the system known there was a problem? Did the system even try to find out how those students did?

Open&Transparent said...

So Ron Ramsey did an investigation and found no wrong doing? What? Actually, not sure how Ron finds any time to do an investigation when he's downtown at the Gold Dome so much, even when the legislature is out of session.

Someone please explain to me how Gloria Talley, Bob Moseley, Audria Berry and C Lew did not catch this. Between those four and Ron Ramsey, that's about a million dollars of salaries, benefits and perks.

Who is the administrator in charge of elementary schools? How does this slip by?

I have NO CONFIDENCE in the Crawford Lewis administration. It is high time that he and his band of decades long insiders retire and we bring in a new crew of leaders, albeit a much smaller crew. The DCSS Central Office is collapsing under its huge weight of bloat and ineffectiveness.

Anonymous said...

If and when the charges are proven, James Berry needs to lose his pension and also face jail time.

In a year full of embarassments for the DCSS Central Office, this is a fitting way to end the school year.

pscexb said...

themommy, I spoke to a teacher who indicated that Atherton is a high mobility school. Despite the best efforts of teachers, it is challenging when students are coming in and out during the school year, all at different levels. I'm not sure if it is this school but they also mentioned a student may start the year at a school, leave at the beginning of January (rent specials in many cases), then come back right before testing. I'm not sure of a way to measure this kind of transition.

In fairness, this happens at many schools around the country. Students as 'passed along' despite not having basic skills in place. I hear some HS teachers complain about some MS teachers who complain about some ES teachers. We've got far more measures in place now than we've ever had with even more people analyzing the data. Not to make an excuse but with this kind of visibility, scrutiny, and pressure, we should not be surprised that this is happening.

Something to consider, if the 'delta' between the first scores and summer scores had not been so great (I think I saw a difference of 74 points in the AJC), they probably could have gotten away with it.

Open+Transparent said...

Even my good buddy pscexb has to agree that Crawford Lewis, Gloria Talley, Bob Moseley, Audria Berry and Ron Ramsey should be reprimanded by the BOE for the Atherton debacle.

This is a punch to the gut for the school system and questions the effectiveness of the Central Office on the most basic level. When a principal (with a questionable work history) and asst. principal are actually manipulating student tests, it makes every single DCSS parent wonder whether they should sent their children to any DCSS school. Voucher supporters are going to love this one.

Cerebration said...

"if the 'delta' between the first scores and summer scores had not been so great ... they probably could have gotten away with it."

I thought the same thing, PSC. I thought they stupidly got greedy - changing answers so that every child now passed - and passed with flying colors - not just "eeked" by...

I also noticed that the ratio of "Wrong to Right" erasures was only about half to 2/3. Many of the erasures were changed to a different wrong answer! Now, certainly the kids are responsible for some of these, however, the teachers testified that the students did very little erasing...

This guy's not even good at cheating.

Anonymous said...

Please note that in investigating test tampering depends on access to the testing sheets. Suspicious score changes will be obvious, but the only agency that could investigate is GOSA because they have the evidence. That is, once the test is taken test security requires that the test answers leave the school system. In this case based on the GOSA recommendation, the test answer sheets lingered too long at the school (over the weekend?). GOSA had to use experts at Georgia Tech to examine the erasures and answer patterns to be certain that it wasn’t a miracle. Dr. Lewis or any responsible school system employee, if made aware of a test irregularity can “investigate” but they can not examine the answer sheets. The irregularity here that might have been detected revolves around giving a test on Friday and turning it in Monday. It also appears that the person who received the delivery of the tests from Atherton did not log in the time the tests were delivered.
Dr. Lewis, et al. would have had little to go on unless someone confessed.
The GOSA reccomendations included

“3. DeKalb and Atlanta should consider revising their test material collection procedures so that the school system collects the test materials from schools rather than allowing school administrators to deliver the materials to the warehouse or central office repository.

5. DeKalb and Fulton should log the time that they receive test materials from each school.

7. DeKalb should not allow schools to hold test materials over a weekend. Test schedules should be arranged such that tests can always be returned on a weekday within 24 hours of the conclusion of testing.”

I am sure that DCSS and Dr. Lewis will take the GOSA recommendations.

However, I am not sure that it would be fair to judge an entire school system by the acts of any one or two people. Changing the test scores was wrong and stupid and the one or two people responsible will pay. BY THE WAY JAMES BERRY IS NOT MARRIED TO AUDRIA BERRY. If he was, it would not make Audria guilty of anything except sadness and embarrassment. I hope we have gotten to the point that we hold the families of wrong doers equally responsible.

DCSS has 145 schools and centers. Those locations range from high performing to low performing schools. Based on Newsweek, DeKalb has 3 highschools ranked in the top 375 in the nation (Chamblee, Lakeside and DSA). School Digger rates 5 DeKalb elementary schools (Vanderlyn, Livsey, Austin, Fernbank, and Oak Grove in the top 80 elementary schools in Georgia (Vanderlyn is number 6). Who gets the laurels? What distinguishes these schools from Atherton? Atherton, a Title I school has 91% of its students on free and reduced lunch. Vanderlyn has 2% on free and reduced lunch.

Is there something else at play here besides the school system? Do our schools reflect the terrible gap between the haves and the have nots? Is the way to fix the situation to jump on Dr. Lewis? Is there something positive that any of us can do? The way to fix those reading scores based on all the research we have includes reading with your child at home. A mere 10 minutes a night makes a measurable difference on test scores.

Anonymous said...

I would take those Newsweek rankings with a "grain of salt". Those rankings are based only on AP courses. There are schools on that list that have not even made AYP within their own districts.

pscexb said...

Well written post Anon @ 4:16! There are many successes throughout DCSS that we as citizens should be proud of.

I also agree with your assessment regarding the importance of reading to your child at home. Call me naiive but I believe you can overcome challenges with socioeconomic status IF you have active parental involvement. Unfortunately we haven't figured out how to effectively encourage that.

Anonymous said...

Back in Lake Woebegon where all the children are above average

"I would take those Newsweek rankings with a "grain of salt". Those rankings are based only on AP courses. There are schools on that list that have not even made AYP within their own districts."

I don’t take AYP very seriously. The idea that by a certain date that all our students will pass the test is a fantasy. It is just a pretext to destroy public education. Unless we dumb down the test (and Georgia has) there will be students who do not pass, do not want to pass, and do not know why they should pass. The schools on the list are great schools if you are middle class or better or if you come from a family that really values education and insists that their children take school seriously. School is only an opportunity for success not a guarantee. The only school guarantee is that you are supposed to go until a certain age. AYP is based on making sure all students have a set of minimum basic competencies. If more than 5% of any subgroup of 40 misses the test, you don’t make AYP no matter how high your scores are. By the way, what do you think the absence rate is in large companies on any given day?

If we are going to have standards and test let’s adopt national ones and used Norm Referenced Achievement tests like the Iowa so we can really get a sense of how we are doing. We already do the Iowa; let’s give it at the start of a grade and at the end and see if each student makes progress. Let’s save all that money the state wastes on the CRCT. The graduation test is remarkably easy. Do a national graduation test and get serious. We give the tests 3 or 4 weeks before school is out. At that point many students think school is over. Let’s give the test the last week of school and get our money’s worth. We give it in April now because we need the test scores back to determine AYP. Garbage in garbage out.

Anonymous said...

The last thing we need to do is add another layer of testing the last weeks of school. As it is now there are exams in middle school and in high school there are AP exams, EOCT tests AND finals. The kids are stressed enough as it is.

fedupindcss said...

Don't forget the GHSGT. If you are a high school junior, your education for the year ends in February.

Cerebration said...

"It (NCLB) is just a pretext to destroy public education."

If you want to read more on this perspective - visit this incredible blog - the premise of which is that NCLB's goal is to dismantle public schools, replace them with charters (run by very profitable corporations) that demand high stakes testing (again, run by very profitable corporations). It's quite the eye-opener! This blog had seriously changed my thinking in many ways.

Cerebration said...

Oh - and BTW - Lakeside HS has somehow dropped off the Newsweek list altogether this year. There's a Lakeside HS in Evans, GA but no Lakeside in DCSS.

Could be a typo - could be that they never turned in their data - could be that they really didn't rank.

Anonymous said...

The DCSS administration should definitely be in hot water for this. When test scores rise so dramaticaly, it raises a huge red flg. Whomever DCSS had "investigate" clearly was either incompetent or unwilling to push hard. Test scores never increase like that on their own. Gloria Talley had to know something was amiss.

themommy said...

Anon at4:16

Who has been protecting this principal for all these years? He has a checkered past and questionable credentials. I believe that someone has been watching his back.

He would not have been assigned to a top school where parents are involved because they would have run him out of town.

So again, praytell, who was protecting James Berry?

fedupindcss said...

Even a top school with an astute parent population is no guarantee. The way DCSS does principal placement, he could be appointed without parent involvement, or they could get his resume at the time of the interview, with no chance to do any due diligence. In fact, they are not allowed to do so--DCSS may be the only employer in the universe that does not Google their applicants, but accepts their resumes on face value (remember their HR pick a few years ago?).

Ella Smith said...

Lakeside-Atlanta is 195 and then Chamblee is in the 200s.

Lakeside still comes in 2nd in Georgia behind Walton.

Anonymous said...

ometimes average principals do survive at schools with highly involved parents, but poor ones never do.

The system goes out of their way to protect mediocre and worse principals by sending them to schools where the parents are uninvolved and disconnected.

Anonymous said...

That's Lakeside-Evans at 195, not Lakeside in Dekalb.

Anonymous said...


I don't think any of the school systems check resumes. A Morningside elementary principal had to resign a few years ago because she fudged an advanced degree on her resume.

DCSS has a large HR department that should do resume checking and due diligence. Of course, DCSS seems to have an unusually large percentage of teachers, principals and administrators with doctorate degrees in questionable areas (Educational Leadership) from internet universities.

Federal law now requires that parents can inquire about the qualifications of the teachers. IMO DCSS violates that requirement by only providing the generic degree, i.e. "Masters" and not the subject matter or school that bestowed the degree.

No Duh said...

Even when the School Council gets to interview Principal candidates, the panel is quickly shown the interviewee's resume, but they are NOT given a copy and it is not in front of them when the candidate is being interviewed. When the Council deliberates, they have nothing to compare but their impressions of the candidates. Absolutely no way to compare apples to apples when it comes to educational backgrounds of the candidates.

But, I guess that's the way DCSS keeps these fake degreed people around. All anyone ever gets to see is the word "Dr." And boy, you better use that title or you will be corrected!

Cerebration said...

The truest comment at the AJC blog on this topic in my eyes comes from J-Snuff,

"They cheat cause they do not have the aptitude to solve the problems they are facing. "

Bottom line - this is the crux of our educational problems.

Cerebration said...

And in one of TWO articles unbecoming to DCSS on the front page of todays AJC, this was stated,

As investigations continue into a cheating scandal that has ensnared four elementary schools across Georgia, officials in one system have tightened testing rules because of the breach.
Administrators last summer at DeKalb County’s Atherton Elementary School kept student answer sheets over an entire weekend before turning them in on Monday. It is not clear whether the alterations —- in which someone erased wrong answers and penciled in the right ones —- happened during that weekend or the three days of testing prior.
No one but the administrators has been accused of cheating by DeKalb officials.

To read the entire article, go to

(The other article was about the $18,000 the Sembler Co contributed to Gene Walkers BOE campaign.)

Anonymous said...

C Lew: Hey Ron, the test scores at Atherton went up by a crazy amount. Check it out.

Ron Ramsey: I called James Berry and he said everyone worked really, really hard, and that's why the test scores went up exponentially. He sure convinced me.

C Lew: Whew! Glad that's over with. Thanks for doing such a thorough investigation. I'll see 'ya down at the Commerce Club after you're done at the Gold Dome.

Cerebration said...

Any of these names look familiar?

Here are some of the names from Leadership DeKalb

DeKalb County School System
Audria Berry
Yolanda Brown
Gale Thomas
Debbie Torbush
Marcus Turk

For the listing of graduates by class go here

Anonymous said...

Son of awcomeonnow, reporting back in.
Pscexb wrote about Atherton being "highly transient". Amen, and then some.
Atherton has one apartment complex feeding into it that covers 97 acres and has ONE THOUSAND units. (the former Oaktree, across from Kensington MARTA).
Presumably, Berry was moved to Atherton in a lateral move to keep him on the payroll. One of my neighbors knows Atherton well, and she can tell you that it's not exactly a plum assignment.
Said neighbor got a job teaching at Atherton fresh out of college about fifteen years ago.
She taught 2nd grade there for one year, then quit the public school teaching profession altogether. The behavior of Atherton's pupils cinched the deal for her. The final straw that broke the camel's back? Having her
desk stolen.

Paula Caldarella said...

The Dekalb DA is apparently opening an investigation to see if criminal charges are warranted.

Cerebration said...

I hope this will be the case that the DA takes action on. What whoever did this did - was criminal, IMO.

Cerebration said...

Well - at least there's this!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today regarding the Regarding State Board of Education Accepting the Recommendations of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement:

“A thorough investigation by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement offers clear and convincing evidence of cheating, which was confirmed by the Georgia Center for Assessment’s independent erasure analysis. The GCA found that all 4 schools had significantly more erasures and changes to right answers than the comparison group. This spring’s CRCT scores offer further proof of wrongdoing, the pass rate at the schools whose students’ tests were altered went from 83 percent or higher in 2008 to 42 percent or lower in 2009.

I appreciate the strong reactions by school officials in DeKalb County and Glynn County who have shown they will not condone this behavior. However, it is outrageous that Atlanta Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall has simply ignored all of the evidence that Superintendent Cox, the State Board, the other systems, and I found so compelling. While Superintendent Hall attributes the gains to a ‘rigorous program’, there were flat gains from students of the 4 other schools that attended the same summer school as the students who had their tests altered.

In addition to the statistical improbability of their gains, the evidence that GOSA shared with Atlanta Public Schools showed: that the erasures were on average 3 times higher than the state average with at least one student having erasures 12 times higher than the state average, that the interviews with APS officials supported OSA’s conclusion, and that the students’ passage rate dropped from 88 percent on last summer’s retest to 42 percent on this year’s test.

I want to thank the State Board of Education for accepting OSA’s recommendations to invalidate the summer retest results and ensure that the affected students get the help they need. They sent a clear message that cheating will not be tolerated in Georgia. The evidence is overwhelming and any reasonable person can see that cheating occurred and children were harmed.”

mykidsmom said...

Beverly Hall still insists no cheating took place. Didn't she win some type of national award last year? Perhaps she believes if she admits cheating her award will be tarnished?

Atlanta's School Superintendent says she stands by her earlier statements that cheating on state standardized tests can not be proven at an Atlanta elementary school, after Governor Sonny Perdue called her position "outrageous".

Dr. Beverly Hall declined numerous requests from 11Alive Friday for a one-on-one interview to respond to the Governor's comments.

A school system spokesperson said Dr. Hall stands behind the following statement issued early Thursday afternoon:

"Atlanta Public Schools does not condone cheating. We are very disappointed that The State Board of Education accepted the findings of an external audit conducted by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement this morning. Based on our internal investigation and an investigation conducted by an external party, the preliminary results show that cheating could not be proven on these 11 students' tests. At this time, we are looking into the process of appealing before the state board."

Anonymous said...

I actually have to write a paper on this plus other dekalb school system related stuff for school! I go to PCMS!