Chicago Cheating?

K-12 Testing

The validity of Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) scores on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) has been called into question by reform advocates who question the impact of coaching and cheating. In addition to making the ITBS the focus of summer school, after school, special tracks and transition schools, workbooks to prepare for the test are in common use. Schools also are directed to “cleanse” stray marks from answer sheets before returning them to the central office -- a virtual invitation to “fix” mistakes. Most recently, photocopies of the test have begun to circulate in Chicago schools.


When Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) asked the independent investigative arm of the CPS to investigate, PURE was told to talk to an in-house CPS department, and local media ignored the story.


PURE director Julie Woestehoff said, “This is strong evidence that the ITBS test score rise in Chicago has less to do with learning than with a culture in which test cheating is not just accepted but encouraged.”