Cheating our children: Find your school district's test-score shifts
A searchable database showing most of the country's school systems
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined test results for 69,000 schools in 49 states and found high concentrations of suspect scores in 196 school districts. The findings represent an unprecedented look at the integrity of school testing, which has seized center stage in national education policy.
While the analysis doesn't prove cheating, it found troubling patterns in hundreds of cities. Those patterns resemble early indicators in Atlanta that ultimately led to the biggest cheating scandal in American history.
This database shows the number of classes in each district and the percentage of those classes that were flagged over a four-year period. A class is a group of students in the same school from one year to the next. For example, fourth grade students in 2009 and fifth grade students in 2010. A "flag" only indicates a test-score shift outside the norm. Smaller districts with fewer than 20 classes are not included.
In any year, a typical (non-cheating) district might expect to have about 5% of its classes flagged for unusually high or low performance relative to their performances in the previous year. Districts which consistently have 10% or more of their classes flagged or which have an extremely high flag rate in a particular year certainly deserve further examination.
To search this database, first select a state before selecting a district. You may also see all the included districts in a state.
Or search for a school system by its name. (Tip: If the full name doesn't work, try just using a piece of the name.)
HOW TO INTERPRET:
A class is a group of students in the same school from one year to the next. For example, fourth grade students in 2009 and fifth grade students in 2010. A "flag" only indicates a test-score shift outside the norm. Please refer to the article on our methodology to see how a class was flagged. For each year, 2008 to 2011, we show the percentage of classes that were flagged in each district.
Data for Nebraska and Louisiana is not included in this database. Nebraska did not start administering statewide standardized tests until this year. In Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina, entire school districts experienced radical change in student population. Because state data formed a baseline for comparing district results, the District of Columbia was excluded because it is not in a state.