More Evidence of Need for Standardized Test Cheating Software

The Post-Dispatch reports this morning on a school in St. Louis where test scores plummeted this year after an alert, responsive, and responsible administrators found and cracked down on cheating. 

While the article notes Superintendent Kelvin Adams has taken steps to detect and deter cheating, we can do a whole lot more for a small amount of money. 

I’m quoted in the article discussing legislation requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to buy software which can flag test anomalies to detect cheating. 

Earlier this year, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, filed a bill that would have required the state to contract with its testing company to look for instances in which school staff may have changed answers, given students questions in advance or improperly coached students during testing. The bill died, but Barnes said he intends to push the issue again. Administrators at the state education department say they do not have the funding for such analysis.

“I think that 99.9 percent of teachers are honest, if not 99.99, but if the software is out there that can flag situations of cheating, we ought to be using it so that taxpayers and parents know exactly what’s going on with these scores,” Barnes said.

As with the Mamtek legislation, I’ll likely be filing this one every year until the Department either buys the software on its own or the bill passes making them take this common sense measure.