- Thousands of inconsistent advanced placement exam scores for 2016 were posted by California’s Department of Education. Data analysts entered scores for 350,000 more tests than had actually been taken, with the data available online for more than two months, according to inewsource.com
- One high school was labeled as having more passing students than students who actually took the exams.
- One administrator said that sometimes a school’s CDS code can be inaccurate when the College Board submits scores to the department, but it’s often up to districts to note the discrepancy.
High-stakes exams are touted by many as the best option for holding individual schools accountable, with many supporters arguing that it is one of the best ways to determine if particular schools or districts are failing students from low-income backgrounds or students of color. However, it is important to consider that self-reported testing data is not necessarily immune from error or miscalculation when it is submitted for review, and it can be particularly problematic if lawmakers base decisions on such data.
The problem in California also points to the issue with hinging funding decisions on performance metrics. While this case may have simply been one of duplicative reporting, when money is on the line, there could be a tendency to inflate self-reported data to paint a better overall picture of the school. And not only that, but a hyper emphasis on scores can sometimes compromise student learning as teachers focus on ways to pass the test, rather than comprehensive content mastery.