PSSA adviser: Cheating probe impact overstated

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 28, 2012 7:16 AM

school library (Allentown) -- The head of the committee examining scores on Pennsylvania's achievement tests says state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis overstated the panel's conclusions about what's behind the drop in scores.

Pennsylvania Technical Advisory Committee chairwoman Marianne Perie says the analysis couldn't determine conclusively if an investigation to root out cheating led to lower scores. She also says the committee didn't ponder whether budget cuts played a role.

Tomalis last week attributed the lower scores to an investigation into cheating and said the committee found budget reductions had nothing to do with the drop.

A spokesman for the state education department says enhanced security measures led to lower scores at schools flagged in the cheating probe and those lower scores had a statewide impact.

Perie says the panel recommended the state look into whether the investigation adversely affected scores by making teachers hesitant to offer students any assistance at all, even if it's permitted under the testing rules.

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