Davenport Schools Investigate Test Discrepancy - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Schools Investigate Test Discrepancy


Some students at Madison Elementary School in Davenport are going to have to retake state standardized tests after an investigation into erasure marks on several of the answer pages.

KWQC-TV 6 is working on the story after the school district issued the following statement:

The Davenport Community School District has become aware of highly irregular test results on the reading and math portions of the 2013 Iowa Assessments from Madison Elementary School 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.  There were an unusually high percentage of erasures on a large number of tests which resulted in correct answers being selected.

Once we became aware of the irregularities at the end of February, we began an extensive investigation and questioned all individuals who were in the chain of custody for the student answer sheets, along with any individuals who might have knowledge of tampering.  The investigation was directed by the Superintendent and conducted by the District Executive Directors and the Director of Human Resources.  We were advised by legal counsel throughout the process.

The investigation found conclusively that the Iowa Assessment student response sheets for reading and math at Madison were altered to increase the scores.  The investigation is inconclusive in regard to the person or persons who committed the act.  It is critically important to know that Madison students did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with test answers being changed.  We have informed the Iowa Department of Education concerning our findings in the investigation.

Upon realizing that tests had been changed at Madison Elementary School the District had personnel look at all Iowa Assessment reading tests for every other elementary school in the district.  After that review, we are completely confident that there are no irregularities in any other schools.

In order to determine that the Madison test erasures and corrections indicated test tampering, the District recorded every erasure on Madison reading tests and compared them with the erasures for all other elementary schools in the district.  It was found that on average Madison 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students had 7.36 erasures per student on the reading test.  The average for all other schools for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reading tests was 1.25 erasures per student. With changes which were made by someone other than students after they took the test, the average reading score for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students was 92%. 

In reading across grades 3, 4 and 5 at Madison, 75% of the time erasures were changed to the correct answers, compared to a similar classroom sample in 5 classrooms in 2 other similar schools, which had an average erasure to correct answer of 37%.

Although the alteration of tests is not as pervasive in all grades on the math tests, it is obvious that there are irregularities in erasures.  There is no indication that the tests for 2nd grade students at Madison had been altered.  Also, there was no indication that there were an inordinate number of erasures in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade science at the school.  Neither the 2nd grade tests nor science tests are counted for the No Child Left Behind determination.

Due to the alteration on the tests for 2013, the Iowa Assessment scores for Madison will not be counted by the State for No Child Left Behind reporting.  We are re-administering the 2013 Iowa Assessments to our Madison Elementary School students to insure that we have the academic information we need to provide appropriate student instruction.  The re-testing will take place April 29 and 30; May 2 is scheduled for make-ups.  The district office will support the testing effort with additional proctors. 

In eight years of Iowa Assessment testing from 2004 through 2011, the proficiency on the reading test for Madison Elementary School was, on average, 1% above the district score. During that time, Madison scores ranged from 2 % below the district average to 4.6% above. In 2012 Madison reading scores on the assessments were 13% above the district average, and this year would have been 26.6% above the district average if the changed answers had been scored.

As a result of this serious incident, the District will in the future increase the security and control for test materials and student answer sheets during the annual Iowa Assessment testing period.  Additionally, an aggressive review process will be used to look for unusual patterns of erasures on all answer sheets on the Iowa Assessments.  The District leadership is committed to working with teachers to together increase oversight and monitoring to eliminate the possibility of test tampering.


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