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A Message from Dr. Rick Reedy, FISD Superintendent of Schools: (June, 2006)

A great deal has been in the media lately about the testing irregularities that were reported by Caveon Test Security – a group with which the state contracted to do data analysis on the results of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.

The information FISD received from the state showed that we had three secondary schools that received a “flag.” At one school, in one grade level, it showed that there was an unusual response pattern on the reading test. At that school and two others there was a larger score gain than was deemed statistically probable based on students’ prior year scores in one or more grade levels and subjects that triggered the “flag.”

When we contacted the state agency to get more information as part of our investigation, this is what we were told.

In the area of the grade level with the unusual response pattern (the example would be missing easy questions and answering the difficult questions), they could not tell us if this occurred within a single classroom or across the entire grade level. They agreed that without this information it would be hard for us to investigate further.

In the area of unusual gains, they indicated that this was at the individual student level, not for an entire grade level. Apparently they compared a student’s exam score in the previous year with the score in the next year. If a student gained more than the state average gain, this would be considered excessive or unusual gains. They could not tell us how many students with above-average gains it took at a particular grade level on a particular subject to “trip the flag.”

We were encouraged to emphasize with our testing administrators that these types of analyses are being done, to continue to enforce rules of no cell phones in use during the tests, and to again emphasize to students that test forms within a classroom are different and cheating would be fruitless and unwise. We do this each year and will continue to do so as we train our testing coordinators and others.

All this being said, we did take the report seriously and we did try to investigate the findings . . . without much luck.

We are proud of our scores and we believe they are valid and are a true measure of our students’ abilities. We will continue to focus on science and math and will continue to emphasize the importance of these tests to our students. Our teachers and students have worked hard and we applaud their efforts. Until all students are making gains and mastering objectives our work will not be done.