Maryland officials investigating Montgomery County teacher’s cheating concerns

Maryland education officials are continuing their investigation into a Montgomery County teacher’s concerns over potential cheating on graduation-related projects, after he found the school’s own report to be inaccurate and incomplete.

Richard Montgomery High School social studies teacher Brian Donlon said he saw several students in 2019 using a pre-filled work sheet to complete a bridge project — an assignment which students can use to qualify for graduation if they fail state assessments.

Donlon said he reported it to a superior at the high school last April, and that investigations into the matter have been slow to unfold.

“The assistant principal at my school, who also serves as test coordinator, immediately attempted to talk me out of reporting these violations by saying, ‘these are just sentence starters, this isn’t a big deal, these are used all over MCPS,'” Donlon told the Maryland State Board of Education at a meeting last month.

After their initial investigation between April and July, the Maryland State Department of Education told Donlon they felt the school system had “adequately addressed” his concerns, The Washington Post reported.

But after reviewing the school’s report, Donlon still pressed for a more thorough state investigation.

“Several months later on Oct. 11, the same assistant principal and school test coordinator said this template was most likely handed out at a social studies department chair meeting,” said Donlon.

“I cannot confirm if her statements are accurate, or whether it is the case that systemic cheating on bridge projects is occurring across Montgomery County Public Schools, but neither can MCPS or MSDE because they have refused to investigate.”

In November, Maryland officials told Donlon they were furthering their investigation. A full report is expect by early February, according to The Washington Post.

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