Officials from the Philadelphia School District's accountability office said today that they had "many concerns" about the data analysis used by the state to flag 28 district schools for possible 2009 PSSA cheating. Still, they said, the district will cooperate with the state and hopes for more complete information. Among the data it wants before coming to any conclusions are forensic analyses of the 2010 and 2011 PSSAs.
Of the 28 schools the district was directed to analyze, 13 schools bear further investigation because they have big jumps in test scores and flags for erasures on exams. The district declined to name the schools, and said it hopes the state helps conduct those investigations when the time comes. The rest of the schools do not merit further investigation, officials said.
Fran Newburg, the district's Deputy Chief of Accountability and Educational Technology, said the district "takes very seriously these allegations" but stressed that most principals and teachers are honest and do good work. Newburg encouraged any staffer with information about cheating to come forward to the district or the state with specifics. In many cases, "I think what we have is very vague allegations against schools," said Daniel Piotrowski, Executive Director of Accountability and Assessment.