Editor's Note: This news is a heart-breaker. For years, Richmond citizens have both cherished and questioned the outstanding academic performance of Carver Elementary School, a school that sits in the heart of the city where nearly 100 percent (99.8 percent) of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In fact, Carver regularly outperformed the powerhouse elementary schools in the city such as Munford, Fox, Holton and Fisher.
Comes now news from Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Superintendent, Jason Kamras, that "based on their initial exploration, it is clear that, in some instances, standardized procedures for testing were not followed. In alignment with the VDOE’s conclusions, we believe it is in the best interest of our students for them to re-test under proper protocols." John Butcher and I have worked closely over the years monitoring and analyzing test scores in RPS and have repeatedly asked questions not only about Carver's performance, but about other schools as well. Read below for some history and know that more news will be forthcoming. ~ Carol A.O. Wolf
The recent numbers at Carver have been spectacular. For reference, here they are, along with a bit of history:
When I asked our former Superintendent whether they were cheating at Carver, he ducked. When Carol Wolf asked the new Superintendent, he asked VDOE. Here is the (initial) result. [It should also be noted that several people throughout the city have repeatedly raised questions concerning the testing protocols and possibility of cheating at Carver. It is also important to note that the testing "irregularities" here involve the adults, not students].
Message from the Superintendent
Dear RPS Community,
We recently received information about potential irregularities with SOL testing procedures at Carver Elementary and consulted the Virginia State Department of Education (VDOE) regarding next steps. Based on their initial exploration, it is clear that, in some instances, standardized procedures for testing were not followed.
In alignment with the VDOE’s conclusions, we believe it is in the best interest of our students for them to re-test under proper protocols. While we understand the burden this places on students and staff, having accurate student performance data allows us to better support our students and our educators. We are working closely with the Carver administration and staff to communicate with parents and answer their questions and concerns.
I take testing integrity extremely seriously. We have extraordinary students and they deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities without question. If you have a concern about testing protocols at any other RPS school, you can anonymously share information by calling RPS at (804) 780-7906 or the VDOE at (804) 225-2102.
~ Jason Kamras
VDOE says:The Virginia Department of Education is investigating reported irregularities in the administration of Standards of Learning tests at Carver Elementary. The investigation is being conducted at the request of Richmond Public Schools. VDOE is also providing guidance on the retesting of students.Read John Butcher's earlier coverage on the Carver Question below:
There are two possibilities here: Either this Principal is a terrific leader or she has brought cheating to a new level.
When I had a chance to chat with our Superintendent in October, I asked him whether they are cheating at Carver. He responded that I should pose that question to the Principal.
It is our Superintendent’s job to know the answer to that question and to have acted long before now if the answer is any flavor of “yes.” The answer he gave tells me that either (1) he doesn’t know, or (2) they are cheating and he won’t admit it, or (3) he is being cute.
Wrong answer in any case.
I’m hoping that our new School Board will ask that question and respond appropriately if they also get a wrong answer.