By John R. Butcher
One clue to the wholesale cheating at Carver is the remarkable pass rates of the disabled students. Statewide, in recent years, disabled students have passed the SOLs at a rate about 30% lower than their abled peers. In Richmond, where the disabled rates have been boosted by the cheating at Carver (and elsewhere, see below), that difference is closer to 25%. At Carver, we have seen both the abled and disabled groups outscoring the state average for abled students.
It is particularly telling that, in recent years, the disabled and non-disabled scores at Carver have been almost identical. Whatever the system for providing answers may be, it works about equally well for both groups.
Note: Here, and below, the data are the averages of the third, fourth, and fifth grade SOL (and alternate tests) pass rates. The VDOE site (with a new, helpful, but slow front end to the database) is glad to give us the data for the other elementary schools.
Turning to the math pass rates, we see Richmond’s four top schools in 2017 were Munford, Broad Rock, Cary, and Fox. Their data fit one (reasonable) pattern, with the disabled pass rates running parallel to, and well below, the abled rates:
Note the missing data, esp. for Cary, that probably are the result of VDOE’s suppression rules for small groups. The next four schools, Stuart, Carver, Ginter Park, and Fairfield Court show a different (and problematic) pattern (see above for Carver):
Looking on down the list, we see another five schools with anomalous pass rates for their disabled students over the past few years: Fisher (maybe), Jones, Greene (but only one datum), Blackwell, and Westover Hills.
In summary, these math data contain red flags, or hints at them, in the disabled pass rates at nine schools:
The reading data suffer from a larger population of missing (suppressed?) entries. There are some other differences between the reading and math data. And some ugly similarities, e.g., Carver, above, and:
These data, standing alone, do not prove anything. But they do tell our new Superintendent that he probably has an institutional cheating problem that is much larger than just the one at Carver. We’ll have to wait until the August SOL data release to see whether any of these these (or any other) schools have followed Carver’s lead into the 2018 school year, a period when VDOE has been largely running the Richmond system.