Penn Charter Network Systematically Cheated

After years of accusations and multiple investigations, Chester Community Charter Schools officially received confirmation that it systematically cheated on state exams. The sad part about the following expert is that the cheating coincided with the year the charter network was endanger of facing penalties for three consistent years of not meeting Race to the Top’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirement on state exams. The other sad issue is that Chester received more funding than its traditional counterparts, but Chester students performed just as poorly.

The Notebook, a Philadelphia newspaper, reports:

“PDE [Pennsylvania Department of Education] then spelled out strict testing protocols that the school said it would follow, including 24-hour security cameras where the tests are stored and in all classrooms in which students take them. In addition, PDE sent outside monitors to supervise all test administrations.

Through its history, CCCS [Chester Community Charter Schools] struggled to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the test score and performance targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The school made AYP in 2004 but then fell short for four years in a row from 2005 through 2008.

A fifth year of failing to meet targets would have triggered sanctions under NCLB, including a potential change in management.

The scores climbed in 2009, and for three years in a row, through 2011, they were high enough for the school to earn Adequate Yearly Progress status, an indicator that enhanced the school’s credibility in the Chester community. The school’s enrollment saw continued growth.

After the strict test protocols were put in place in 2012, proficiency rates at CCCS plummeted by an average of 30 percentage points in every grade and subject. In letters to parents and the media, the school blamed the drop on budget cuts.

Since then, scores have remained low – similar to scores of some Chester-Upland district schools.

That district has been in dire financial straits for decades, most recently exacerbated by its huge payments to CCCS and two other charters.”

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