The report was commissioned by Shula Nedley, who was director of the education department's Bureau of Assessment and Accountability.
wanted to restore analyses of test data, including an examination of erasure marks made on the standardized exams given annually in grades 3 through 8 and 11.
Ms. Nedley, who is now a consultant in Pittsburgh, said the impetus for the analysis was less to detect cheating than to have a third party validate test results in the eyes of federal officials responsible for ensuring that schools comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
"This is an issue of data quality," she
"One of the big purposes that this report fills in my way of thinking is to provide us with evidence of the quality of data so the feds will approve of our plans and have faith that the data from our schools is valid and accurate.
The intent of this report wasn't grounded in suspicions of any particular school district."
, formerly the longtime top testing official for Pittsburgh Public Schools
, said she
recalled that the report arrived in her
Harrisburg office in July 2009, about a week before she
position to move to the private sector in Pittsburgh.
"I can comment that it was left with instructions.
I left it with one of the staff," Ms. Nedley
added that she
could not recall the specific person to whom she
"The people in my bureau, the senior staff in my bureau knew about the report.
They were involved with the development and approval of the report.
The report arrived ...[my] last week there, and it was included in my to-do list when I left," Ms. Nedley
had a guess.
"Sometimes when people in politically appointed positions leave office," she
said, "those things that are associated with them go out the window."
Or, Ms. Nedley
said, they could represent a manipulation of the district's demographics by administrators.