Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Academic Fraud at Richard Montgomery High School

The Gazette reported on the complaint by a teacher at Richard Montgomery High School regarding an AP class and the response of the Superintendent's administrators.  Here is the full text of the actual complaint.

Academic Fraud at Richard Montgomery High School

21 comments:

  1. This is not the first time MCPS transcripts have not matched the courses that students were taking. Question is, what is Superintendent Joshua Starr going to do to insure that MCPS transcripts are legitimate, credible documents?

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  2. I didn't realize that students signing to take AP exams in May made the school look better regardless of their performance on the test. perhaps that should be examined as well.

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    1. Yes, that is how The Washington Post's Jay Mathews' CHALLENGE INDEX ranking of schools works. It's the number of students that TAKE the AP exams that matters. Scores do not.

      MCPS is rewarded for pushing students to pay to take the AP Exams even if the students are not ready, prepared or interested.

      Don't expect The Washington Post to do an investigation of this rating system!

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    2. The schools is not pushing students to take AP exams, parents are. Parents want their children to take the most difficult courses even though the students are not succeeding in those courses. MCPS and schools do not require students to take exams,but parents are making those decisions for the students. The parents should stop pushing students into failure and actually listen to see if the student is ready or not.

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    3. Again, sorry but this is another anonymous posting that could have come straight from the MCPS Public Relations Department as a way to cover for the Superintendent.

      For years MCPS offered students the opportunity to skip the final exam in an AP class IF they would sit for the AP exam. Parents did not make up that incentive, the Superintendent did.

      There was even the "kick ball game" instead of final exam if you take the AP exam bonus offered at one school.

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    4. First of all, I am not from MCPS, I am a student.
      Also, the fact that a student can "skip" a final exam is exaggerated. Students are still required to take a culminating test or do a culminating activity in place of an exam. I believe this makes sense, if a student has to take an AP, college level, exam, I believe we should not be forced to take another final exam. The fact is that an AP exam is much harder and requires students to study an entire year's worth of material, not just one semester. Therefore I believe it is more beneficial for a student to take an AP exam, because they are forced to study and retain more material, than a final exam by the teacher or county.

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    5. No exaggeration. Kick ball = culminating activity.

      AP exams are exams given by a private company for profit. They are not part of the public school curriculum. AP exam grades do not appear on transcripts. For seniors, the AP exam grades aren't even released until after the seniors have graduated.
      The AP exams are independent of the public school system. Students can take an AP exam without even taking a course.

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  3. How Churchill High School took a regular chorus class and turned it into an HONORS level class: Simple change of course code.

    ...Students that are enrolled in the Churchill Show Choir called ShowStoppers are now able to earn Honors credit for being in this class. How does Churchill High School manage this?

    While it is true that MCPS doesn’t offer an Honors Show Choir class, that problem is easily solved by changing the MCPS Course Code on report cards. Students who are enrolled in the Churchill Show Choir class known as ShowStoppers now receive MCPS Course Code 6743 for Choir – Chamber - Honors on their report cards instead of the Show Choir Course Code of 6745 which does not gives honors credit..."

    You will see the Course descriptions for each MCPS Course Code attached. The Winston Churchill High School Choral Music Department Student and Parent Guidebook lists the Showstoppers Show Choir as an “honors” show choir.

    http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2009/07/1000-chorus-class-lives.html

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    1. Its a shame that this happened at Churchill, but what does this have to do with APUSH at Richard Montgomery?

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    2. The issue is the integrity of the student transcript. Both schools are in the Montgomery County Public School system. Both schools are run by the same Superintendent.
      Are MCPS transcripts credible documents?

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    3. What are you talking about the integrity of transcripts? Every school is different and the job of the college admissions officers is to look at each individual school profile and decide what classes are considered to be higher level according to each college's standards. Do you even know how the college process works or what college admissions officers do? Colleges have different standards and they decide what to count, whether they use weighted or unweighted, and determine each school's rigor based on the high school profile.
      Therefore, MCPS transcripts are just transcripts detailing each class a student has taken. It is according to each college's standards whether a class should be counted as higher level and will factor that into their admissions review.

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    4. Pretty straight forward. (This issue has nothing to do with colleges.)

      Did the student actually take the class that is listed on the transcript. Two instances now where the answer is no. What is the Superintendent doing to make sure MCPS transcripts are legitimate documents?

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    5. Read the Gazette article, read the complaint filed by Mr. Donlon.

      Clearly College Board has certified and agreed that the classes have been approved and meet all the requirements required by the AP Program and the College Board.

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    6. That's not at all what the Complaint or the Gazette article said. They both said the College Board was not an enforcement organization. They both said that the school/MCPS was trying to say the course met all requirements. College Board never said that.

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    7. "The College Board addressed the complaint with the school and the school system, who assured the board that AP requirements are being met, according to Deborah Davis, the director of College Readiness Communications at The College Board." (Bondesen, Gazette.net)

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    8. Similar to how the College Board trusts the school and the school system when they say requirements are being met, I would believe their word over one single individual.

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    9. The school system, that's MCPS, assured the board, that's the College Board, that the requirements are being met. The College Board made no such assurances.

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  4. It's a shame that there aren't standards for what "Honors" means. I attended my k-12 in MCPS and I have a child in MCPS K currently, and another one coming up. I want them to get the best education possible and if that means they need to be in plain old regular U.S. History, or remedial math, or Honors or AP, than so be it. but i want them to actually be doing what they're supposed to be doing, and learning accordingly. It's a shame the administration is more concerned with the bottom line than with actual education. unless this is a lesson on how to maneuver through the corrupt private companies and public organizations without getting caught or any more than a slap on the wrist, as our country seems to have turned into :(

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  5. I am a student at RM and can guarantee this report is factually inaccurate. We start at 1492 and go through that history up until almost present day in great detail, and %90 manage to achieve the ratins of five on the exam that shows we have benn very well prepared

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    1. Sorry, but this sounds like a posting from the MCPS Public Relations Department.

      Response is - prove it. Make the syllabus used in the class public and make the AP scores for the students public. It's easy enough to prove what this anonymous posting claims. Let's see the documents!

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  6. There is a greater point here that shouldn't be lost (regardless of what went on in this specific case). This type of stuff goes on all the time in Montgomery County because principals for years had been told that specific data points must go in a certain direction or their job would be on the line (verdict still out on Starr). The hard way to change data is to improve teacher quality and subsequently student performance. This type of systemic change cannot occur overnight- its a slow arduous process. It's easy to put more kids in an "AP" class, or to encourage certain kids to opt out of the SAT so that average SAT scores go up. But this is moral cowardice.

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