Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Protection for Human Subjects apparently lacking


Dear UW Human Subjects Division,

In 2004, an NSF/EHR funded program began under the direction of Dr. James King of UW Math department. This grant expenditure started as a professional development program for teachers, primarily at West Seattle, Cleveland, and Garfield High Schools. It received funding in the amount of $200,000 per year.

In the fall of 2006 as part of this collaboration under the direction of Dr. King, Cleveland High School began a three year whole school experiment using an experimental approach to mathematics instruction. This experiment continued apparently unmonitored for the entire three years. It appears that this experiment was unmonitored as Limited English Speaking students performed substantially worse during the course of this experiment as measured by WASL grade 10 math results and the percentage of Black students unable to score above level 1 far below basic increased to more than 70%. This project was run as a collaboration of UW Math, UW College of Education, and the Seattle Public Schools.

Beginning with the Spring 2006 WASL test the Seattle Schools began requiring students to have sophomore credits to take the WASL. In most cases Seattle High Schools saw increases in performance from 2004, 2005 Spring WASL scores to the scores in 2006 and following. Unfortunately for Limited English speaking students and struggling Black students this was not the case in the three year Cleveland math instruction experiment.

I filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General of the NSF. The agent assigned to this case is Lewis Burkley. Recently I received an inquiry from OIG investigative scientist Scott J. Moore. Dr. Moore wished to know what protections were in place.

I am writing to the UW Human Subjects Division as I have been unable to find any protections but thought that you might have some records of the protections Human Subjects might have been provided. It appears this may have been an unmonitored experiment on uninformed human subjects.

Thank You,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

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