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Before the new calculation, which was released last week, school districts often masked dropouts as transfers; they could also count students as graduates no matter how long it took them to finish. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the new graduation data shows seven metro Atlanta districts lost even more ground than did the state as a whole. In addition, 57 Georgia schools, 20 of them in metro Atlanta, failed to graduate even half of their students.

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The newspaper analyzed test results for 69, public schools and found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast. The findings represent an unprecedented examination of the integrity of school testing. A state probe has found that teachers and principals in dozens of Atlanta public schools doctored students' test papers — the latest scandal involving the high-stakes world of standardized testing in the nation's school systems.

The report names teachers and principals, and 82 of those confessed.

Tens of thousands of children at the 44 schools, most in the city's poorest neighborhoods, were allowed to advance to higher grades, even though they didn't know basic concepts. One teacher told investigators the district was "run like the mob.

Hey, what's the big deal about scores anyway? Christopher Waller, the former principal of Parks Middle School, will become an important witness for prosecutors in their case against Hall and other former educators who have maintained their innocence.

Twenty-one defendants have pleaded guilty. Prosecutors say Hall was a leader, driven by bonuses and federal funding tied to better test results.

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The testing scandals have fueled a debate over using high-stakes classroom tests to judge the performance of teachers, administrators, and schools.

In Atlanta, some teachers who cheated blamed extreme pressure to meet district goals. In all this cheating scandal has it been mentioned why the cheating was necessary?

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