Crackdown Is Likely Reason for Plummeting Scores at City School

Jessica Bock, STL Today, August 17, 2012

Just a year ago, results on state tests for reading and math showed Herzog elementary school students outperforming their peers at other schools in the St. Louis district.

Those passing rates on tests plummeted this year, according to data made public this week by state education officials. The likely factor: a crackdown on cheating.

The school was one of at least three where administrators investigated cheating allegations in 2011. Following the inquiries, two employees at Herzog are no longer with the district.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams stepped up efforts to ensure the results were valid during testing in the spring, hiring an oversight coordinator for those schools, as well as placing a member of the district accountability staff at the schools each day during testing. {snip}


According to data from the Missouri Assessment Program tests, the portion of students scoring proficient or advanced in math at Herzog dropped from 43 percent in 2011 to about 8 percent this year. In communications arts, the pass rate fell from 47 percent to less than 10 percent.

Two other schools also had reports of potential test fraud in 2011—Patrick Henry Downtown Academy and Ford Elementary School. Investigators have dismissed reports of cheating at Patrick Henry and Ford as claims made by “disgruntled” employees.

But the 2012 results also show severe declines at Ford Elementary, where scores went from 38 percent passing in communications arts to 10 percent; math scores went from 40 percent passing to 14 percent.

The number of students passing at Patrick Henry in communication arts and math had less dramatic changes—from about 16 percent to 12 percent in communication arts and from about 12 percent to 13 percent in math.

Overall, the results of the latest round of testing were good for the unaccredited district—it gained an academic point in its annual performance report released on Monday. That could position the district for provisional accreditation, but the final decision is up to the state.


In St. Louis, such reports in 2011 ultimately led investigators to recommend that Martine McGull, Herzog’s teaching learning facilitator, be removed and that reading specialist Laronda Johns-Campbell not participate in school testing for one year. Both were on paid administrative leave during the investigation. They are no longer employed by the district.

Laronda Johns-Campbell

Critics say Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should take a more aggressive stance on test fraud, pointing out that Missouri does not analyze test scores to look for abnormal gains that might be red flags for cheating.


Meanwhile, 39 new reports of testing irregularities in the state’s more than 500 school districts were filed with the state as exams were administered this spring. In 2011, there were 41 reports.


[Editor’s Note: This site indicates that Herzog Elementary is 99.8 percent black. It says Patrick Henry Downtown Academy is 99.1 percent black.]

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  • JohnEngelman

    I’m glad they got caught. Race differences in academic performance deserve broad exposure. 

  • The real scandal here is not the cheating.  The real scandal here is that even WITH the cheating, the students had a less than 50% pass rate!   We all know the solution right?  MORE MONEY!

    • haroldcrews

      That’s what I was thinking.  That even with cheating they couldn’t break 50% passing.

  • Enar_Larsson

    —But the 2012 results also show severe declines at Ford Elementary, where
    scores went from 38 percent passing in communications arts to 10
    percent; math scores went from 40 percent passing to 14 percent.—

    10/14 percent passed? Only 1 in 10 students passed the communication arts test? I take it they aren’t using FDNY exam “passing” standards.

  • JackKrak

    “The likely factor: a crackdown on cheating”

    Or, more likely, screwing up the cheating & doing it in the wrong direction.  

    One of these days, in their utter ignorance of numbers, a black school somewhere is going to report that 143% of its students passed a given test or met a certain standard……

  • Neanderthaldna

    If they don’t cheat, the Truth will obnoxiously gush.  What a double bind.  Surprised more teachers don’t go postal.

  • Three days before the P-D ran this story, they ran another story boasting about the improvements in standardized test scores in the SLPS, and also boasted that they were one step closer to regaining their state accreditation.  (Big whoop as far as that goes.  If accreditation meant anything, the SLPS would have lost it decades ago.)

    I thought to myself then:  What kind of cheating occurred?

    Then we had this story.  Granted, it was cheating in the 2010-2011 SY, so their 2011-2012 SY scores at this particular school were lower because they were honest.  But if it happened at one school, it’s happening at other schools.

    So CAL Snowman and Harold Crews:  That doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Many SLPS teachers are graduates of the local HBCU, who admitted students with SATs as low as 780 under the old system of two tests 1600 maximum score.

    • The__Bobster

      Where they got 400 points for merely signing their names.

  • Sheila Dinehart

    To deny these students the opportunity to cheat for equality is hard core racism. 

  • Sheila Dinehart

    Testing is big business, can’t get rid of testing (ha, and we don’t even need it).  More than that, without these deplorable results what would the system use in its place as a proof of racism…

  • Detroit_WASP

    LOL.  I am a former teacher, taught in an all black school in Detroit.  I also attended Detroit public schools until the 9th grade.

    I would believe a black administrator as far as I could throw them.   OF COURSE they change the scores!

    A math competency score in the single digits, at an all black high school, is not unusual.  A bad white school would be in the 30s or 40s.   That is a lower middle class white district.

    Private schools would be in the 80s or 90s and everyone else is in between.

  • What they need is more white kids in the school.  How can black children be expected to learn with virtually no white kids?

    Hey, It makes sense to some people.  Do you expect them to admit there is something wrong with the black kids?

    • IstvanIN

       I always wondered that myself, why a black kid could only learn if seated next to a white child?  Integrated schools, a disaster for us, and it doesn’t help them.

      • chuck_2012

         I don’t understand why any child cannot be taught to read and write. I suspect its a problem where there are no expectations to learn, event the simplest of things. In a sense most black children are functionally retarded, Laronda included.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    0bama should be all for this and cheating should be embedded into the curriculum!!

    According to the 0bama regime, the only ways to be successful are to either “win life’s lottery” or cheat (Wall Street, banks).  Hell, obama himself is a prime example of having the right connections and the skids greased for him while his college grades and test scores are kept hidden from the public.

    Crackdown is likely reason for plummeting scores 

    Low IQ is likely reason for plummeting scores.

    There, fixed.


    • IstvanIN

      Low IQ is likely reason for plummeting scores.

      Or more accurately no IQ.

  • Detroit_WASP

    One hour program on IQ and race.

  • Grob Hahn

    The Atlanta cheating scandal has among other things added a new term to our local lexicon.  These days when someone does something less than intelligent it is rated by the number of erasers used.  Small ones might be an eraser or two, bigger ones are a bag of erasers.  Voting for Obama would be a couple of truckloads!

  • El_Magyar

    Simply anything to perpetuate the fraud. I sincerely wish America would wake up and say, “enough is enough”. All of these Black professionals (who reached their position only by Affirmative Action and “diversity” initiatives) need to be exposed and come down on hard.

    The Black community continues to regress. Until they are made to perform and achieve without assistance and special treatment, they will NEVER become useful, functioning members of society.

  • The end result of the cheating is that blacks are still not learning but it is being covered up. The day the students need to enter the workforce, their poor ability to perform becomes apparent. In the end, no black person with a diploma or a degree will be considered competent. Experience will show everyone that if a person is black, they are illiterate and incapable of doing math. No one will even care about a diploma or a degree. The school administrators that perpetrated the fraud are a prime example, they have degrees, but they are incompetent.

  • Michele

    I believe that even people with an IQ of just 85 can be taught basic math if given great instruction from an early age. It seems that too many elementary school teachers have “math phobia” and teach math poorly. Students with a higher IQ are able to succeed despite the bad teaching, but when you couple the ineffective teaching with a low IQ, of course the results will be sad.
    When I homeschooled, we used Mortensen Math with base 10 manipulatives. My daughter was self-teaching derivatives at age 5! (I had forgotten Calculus and had to read/study to catch up.) 
    If students were grouped by ability and not age or grade, everyone would benefit.
    So now that a savvy administrator placed “accountability staff” at schools during test days, and the results came back dismal, what will the outcome be?
    I doubt if teachers will be fired–it’s very difficult to do in most states. Probably the schools will get more aid and resources. 
    I hope, though, that more people will wake up to the fact that there are racial differences in IQ.

    • What you “believe” is irrelevant to reality. The EVIDENCE shows that people with lower IQs do not learn, no matter what resources, skills, strategies, etc are applied. You yourself even admit you forgot what you had learned. It appears that as IQ decreases the time of retention also decreases until the point is reached where it can never be learned.

  • The__Bobster

    So I take it that she’s not a blue-eyes blonde like your ancestors, and those traits have been lost forever in your lineage. Congratulations.