Cheating in the first, second, and third degree: Educators' responses to high-stakes testing
Educators are under tremendous pressure to ensure that their students perform well on tests. Unfortunately, this pressure has caused some educators to cheat. The purpose of this study was to investigate the types of, and degrees to which, a sample of teachers in Arizona were aware of, or had themselves engaged in test-related cheating practices as a function of the high-stakes testing policies of No Child Left Behind. A near census sample of teachers was surveyed, with valid responses obtained from about 5 percent, totaling just over 3,000 teachers. In addition, one small convenience sample of teachers was interviewed, and another participated in a focus group. Data revealed that cheating occurs and that educators can be quite clever when doing so. But how one defines cheating makes it difficult to quantify the frequency with which educators engage in such practices. Our analysis thus required us to think about a taxonomy of cheating based on the definitions of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree offenses in the field of law. These categories were analyzed to help educators better define, and be more aware of others' and their own cheating practices, in an attempt to inform local testing policies and procedures.
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