Atlanta cheating scandal: Politifact calls Beverly Hall a liar

This comes as a result of the former Atlanta school superintendent’s piece in Education Week (see my previous post for link) in which she claimed that coverage of the cheating scandal didn’t tell the whole story. Then again, neither does she. Actually, that turns out to be an overly charitable assessment, according to Politifact.

Hall wrote,  “The results of the standardized tests administered in 2010 and 2011 under this enhanced security have not been questioned — and most important of all — the dramatic improvement in test scores has remained.”

Then she got wind that Politifact was checking her out:

 …when Hall got wind of our story, she decided to revise the sentence we are checking. Now it reads “the results of the standardized tests administered in 2010 and 2011 under this enhanced security indicate that dramatic improvement in test scores has remained.” Since her unrevised statement was online for more than a week, we think it’s still fair game to check it.

In truth, 2010 results from 16 Atlanta schools have been flagged for possible cheating by the Georgia Office of Student Achievement. As for 2011, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has performed an analysis:

Five schools registered unlikely increases in their CRCT test scores this year. Three of them — Toomer, White and West Manor elementary schools — had also been named in the special investigator’s report for 2009 cheating. West Manor and White were also flagged in 2010.

The odds of such increases range from about one in 700 to one in 21,000, according to the AJC analysis — not as unlikely as gains in prior years, but still statistically unusual.

School supporters say teaching methods or changing enrollment were behind the increases, but APS’ interim Superintendent Errol Davis and Mathers said they may deserve further scrutiny.

Politifact points out that Hall’s piece ran in Education Week on Aug. 9, after the AJC ran its article about 2011 scores, and “She had more than enough time to figure out that GOSA, special investigators and the AJC have questioned her results.”

Ruling: “She earns our lowest rating on this one. Pants on Fire.”

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