Teachers in Georgia have gotten in trouble for faking results of school tests. They shouldn't do that, of course, but looking at the perverse system is deserving of at least some attention.
I don't know these particular tests, but I think I am safe in assuming they are much like the other broad tests given to students in nearly all schools in the country. When I was but a lad, we had the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills every year. They are lead-ins to the PSAT's and SAT's, and are very similar. They are advertised and treated as achievement tests, measuring what the teacher, the school, and the pupil have accomplished. Hah.
But the SAT is essentially an IQ test. Insofar as these tests resemble the NEDT's, NMSQT's, NECAPS and other alphabets, they are just IQ tests as well. (AP exams are more of an achievement test.) IQ is overwhelmingly genetic, and barring the extreme negative circumstances of blows to the head and children kept in closets, some would say "It's all genetic." In fact, Steve Hsu did say that in the video I posted recently. I'm saying it's north of 90%.
There are some ways of gaming the system within the rules. I suspect my town, which inexplicably scores highest in the state, is raising the floor by reducing the number of kids who blow off the test and just screw with it or leave it blank after fifteen minutes. (There is some suspicion that the Finns do this on an international level as well, appealing to the national honor to get all students to do their best. Of course, you have to be a pretty decent and intelligent country to accomplish that, so it may not be unfair. A lot more American children would just say "Yeah, right." to that.) You can "teach to the test" with more and more specificity, and buy some points that way as well.
But in general, you can't move the dial much. In NH, Hanover HS generally scores very high in all academic categories. Dartmouth College. Ditto UNH professors' children at Oyster River HS, which also scores well. Inner cities score poorly, very rural schools often do also. Wealthy communities score well. Yet even at that, the differences from highest to lowest, at least in NH, are not that huge.
So the tests are measuring something other than teacher or school competence, yet it's what the teachers and schools are graded on. And if anyone knows how grading systems work and how to crack the code, it's going to be teachers.
I am putting some energy into the thought-experiment of Americans understanding that the schools cannot make children more intelligent in terms of candlepower, but might be able to do a lot in teaching the other 70% of stuff one needs for good life outcomes: culture, conscientiousness, cooperation, character. They do some of that now, but the big payoff of community attention is around that item which the school has the least control over: student IQ. How would things change if we accepted that?