Were They Cheating @ MLK?

Here is a puzzle for you.

The General Assembly in 2010, effective in the 2011 school year, started a crackdown on use of the VGLA (tests for handicapped students) to cheat.  The State introduced new math tests in 2012 and new English and science tests in 2013; the new tests eliminated the VGLA except for “Limited English Proficient” students

Let’s juxtapose those dates with these data for Richmond’s best and worst middle schools:

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The pattern is evident at MLK:

  • Reading and writing scores drop in 2011 and 2012, before the drop with the new tests in 2013;
  • Math scores drop in 2011, before the drop with the new tests in 2012;
  • Science scores drop in 2011 and 2012, before the drop with the new tests in 2012;
  • MLK scores were often better than the Richmond average (flirting with the state average in a few cases) until 2011; since the new tests they have been below the (awful) Richmond average; and
  • For the most part, and in contrast to the state average, the scores have not improved since the advent of the new tests.

At the same time, the state average and the AP Hill data show pass rate decreases that coincide with the introduction of the new, tougher tests and general recovery afterward.

Looks to me like they were cheating, wholesale, at MLK and they still haven’t recovered from the damage that did.

Do you have a better explanation for these data?