The VGLA Cheating Monster Lives!

As we have just seen, VDOE is concealing participation rates for the VAAP in a manner that raises the question whether some divisions are abusing the VAAP process to boost their scores.

We earlier saw that VDOE ignored rampant abuse of the VGLA until the General Assembly waved a red flag.  VDOE’s response to the new law was to eliminate the VGLA, except for the reading tests in grades 3-8 for Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. 

Unfortunately, it appears that even those remaining VGLA tests are being abused.

The 2015 student achievement reports show VGLA pass rates for 23 divisions.  Fifteen of those 23 divisions (65%) show zero participation.  The average VGLA score is fourteen percent higher than the reading SOL score.  More particularly:


Here we see the reading VGLA pass rates of those 23 divisions plotted vs. the SOL pass rates.  The red line shows the ideal: VGLA pass rate same as the SOL pass rate.  The dotted line is fitted to the actual data and the R2 shows only a modest correlation between the two scores.

There are two interesting features here:

  • The VGLA pass rates are remarkably higher than the SOL rates; and
  • The difference decreases as the division has less need to boost its scores, i.e., with increasing SOL pass rates.

Redrawing the graph we see:


The gold line shows the difference between the fitted and ideal lines.

I earlier quoted Scott Adams for the notion that “whenever you have large stakes, an opportunity for wrong-doing, and a small risk of getting caught, wrong-doing happens. . . .  When humans can cheat, they do.”  That certainly is what we’ve seen wholesale in Atlanta and in Virginia earlier on the VGLA. 

And here we have VDOE again hiding data, with the remaining data consistent with cheating.  Should we suspect that VDOE is again hiding evidence and overlooking cheating?  In light of VDOE’s track record of hiding and manipulating data and ignoring wholesale cheating (see this and this and this and this and this and this), the answer is obvious.


Here are the data for the 23 divisions, sorted by VGLA/SOL ratio: