Too good to be true?

They wanted to believe the scores.  

Separately, some teachers from Roosevelt Middle School in East Germantown suspected something was amiss with their PSSA scores.  There was a gap between the students' performance in class and their performance on the all-important tests.  But they were slow to cry foul.  Finally, they said, it was important to come forward - because the kids were the ones who would ultimately suffer.  Because kids with third grade reading levels and below were not actually passing the PSSA.

Read today's story on alleged testing improprieties at Roosevelt Middle School here:

Consider: students whose performance in reading (state test that matters) far outstrips their performance in writing (state test with no consequences), and whose math (matters) scores is head and shoulders above their science (no consequences) tests.  Students who say they get "help" in the school's library, where administrators give tests to disruptive and late students.  The biggest leap in the state.

Let me be clear.  Are disadvantaged children capable of scoring high on state exams?  Absolutely. I have seen it happen, and I have written about it, about the hard, terrific work of kids and teachers and other staff. But these teachers don't believe that's the case at Roosevelt. 

Teachers who are reading this - have you seen testing improprieties at your school?  Has your school made big gains legitimately?  If so, how did you do it? And, what does this investigation (the district is coming to Roosevelt this week to speak to some teachers, the teachers who talked to The Inquirer said) mean for a district already battered by violence, a massive budget gap and excruciating cuts for schools, etc? As we reported our Assault on Learning series on violence, we heard from many people that some were willing to accept the level of violence because test scores have risen in Philadelphia for eight straight years.  Will this scandal, if proven, change anything?

If you'd like to chat live about this topic, budget, or anything else Philly schools, join me tomorrow (Monday, 5/2) at noon for our weekly real-time discussion on the district. Check this blog or the main page of