More Test Erasures Flagged at Taft

A state-contracted analysis of Ohio Graduation Tests last year flagged seven individual answer sheets at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School for having a suspiciously high ratio of erasures resulting in wrong-to-right answers.

A state-contracted analysis of Ohio Graduation Tests last year flagged seven individual answer sheets at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School for having a suspiciously high ratio of erasures resulting in wrong-to-right answers.

The analysis, obtained by CityBeat, shows that of 92 erasures on the seven tests, 75 were of the wrong-to-right sort, or 82 percent. Statewide, erasures on the test last year led to the correct answer only 27 percent of the time, according to a testing contractor for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

Only two other tests in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) last year were flagged, both at Withrow University High School. Taft’s 69 10th graders in 2011 took more than 300 graduation tests total.

Although only seven of 300-plus tests were flagged, the 82 percent wrong-to-right ratio is reminiscent of 2006, when 88 percent of 1,707 test erasures at Taft led to correct answers.

Erasure analyses of CPS schools either weren’t conducted or were inconsequential during the years between the first analysis and last year’s. CPS said no foul play was behind the successful erasures on the Taft 2011 tests. “Our Testing Department investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing,” CPS spokeswoman Janet Walsh said in an e-mail.

ODE required no follow-up information.

CityBeat has reported questions surrounding Taft’s ascent to “excellence,” as measured mostly by Ohio Graduation Test scores (“Miracle or Mirage,” issue of Feb. 22). The article explored the chasm between Taft’s Ohio Graduation Test and ACT scores and revisited an independent erasure analysis showing that 88 percent of 1,707 erasures on the 2006 graduation tests resulted in correct answers.

In response, CPS board member Eileen Cooper Reed told CityBeat she planned to raise the subject at the March 12 board meeting, but no talk about the erasure analysis occurred and there was no vote to have Superintendent Mary Ronan investigate the matter.

In 2006 CPS was led by then-Superintendent Rosa Blackwell, whose husband Ken Blackwell was Ohio’s secretary of state at the time.

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