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Teachers to be fired for helping students cheat

WASHINGTON – Incidents of teachers helping students cheat on standardized tests at three D.C. schools is expected to lead to firings.

Teachers at Martin Luther King Elementary, Langdon Educational Campus and the former Hyde Leadership Academy (now known as Perry Street Prep) helped students choose the right answers on the Comprehensive Assessment exams, an outside investigation has confirmed.

Hyde Leadership Academy is a charter school, but D.C. Public School (DCPS) officials say the teachers at Martin Luther King and Langdon will be terminated.

The results of the investigation into irregularities on D.C.’s 2011 Comprehensive Assessment exams was released on Friday. DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson says the investigation, which was limited to 60 classrooms in 30 schools, should renew confidence in the school system and its testing program.

“This idea that there is widespread cheating in DCPS is finally put to rest,” she said.

Henderson says the investigation focused on schools that had been flagged for irregularities.

According to the report, seven D.C. public schools had security violations, but those did not rise to the level of cheating. Cate Swinburn, chief of Data and Accountability, explained the nature of those violations.

“Things like folks using a cell phone to text a colleague, to coordinate a bathroom break during testing, or to text a test administrator to ask for more pencils.”

Cell phones are not allowed in testing areas during exams.

There were also eight cases of test administration errors. For example, when an official didn’t follow test protocols, like signing documents or safeguarding testing materials.

While Henderson cites the findings as a positive, she does explain that the schools remain a target of investigation by the Inspector General’s Office. WTOP contacted the IG Office and was told it could not comment on ongoing investigations.

The investigation was performed by Alvarez & Marsal, a firm chosen by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. A&M investigated a total of 70 classrooms in D.C. schools, which includes public charter schools.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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