Standardized Test Cheating At 3 DC Schools

10:33 PM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) is firing two teachers after they were caught helping students cheat on the annual Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS) test.  This comes after the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) released the results of an  investigation into the system-wide, standardized test. 

The investigation, which was conducted by an independent third-party, centered on 70 classrooms in 38 DCPS and Public Charter Schools that were flagged for possible testing violations. 

  • Fourteen schools were cleared of any wrongdoing
  • Eleven had "minor" issues 
  • Nine schools had "moderate" issues
  • Three schools - two DCPS, one Charter - classified as "critical," which means investigators found evidence of test tampering or academic fraud. 

"I am so pleased that this investigation confirmed what we thought all along, that there is no widespread cheating in D.C. Public Schools," said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools.  "In any system you have a couple of people who choose to break the rules.  Out of over 1,100 classrooms tested, to have only two classrooms with confirmed cheating tells me that our teachers, our administrators, our school staff are doing right by our young people."

The three schools flagged as "critical" were Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Langdon Education Campus, and Public Charter School Perry Street Prep (formerly known as Hyde Leadership)

At Martin Luther King Elementary and Perry Street Prep, students told investigators that "their teacher pointed out correct answers."  At Langdon Education Campus, "The Principal indicated that a proctor and assistant test coordinator erased stray marks on student answer sheets."   The test scores in the problem classrooms at these three schools have been invalidated.

The good news is that the problem doesn't appear to be nearly as widespread as many people feared.  A little over a year ago, USA Today reported extremely high rates of changed test scores from 2008 to 2010.  That report prompted the city's Inspector General to launch an investigation, which is still ongoing.  This OSSE investigation only centered on the 2011 CAS test. 

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