FW: Proficiency test put off; teacher investigated
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- Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 10:03:54 -0500
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A television news reporter contacted my partner before this story went
public for our thoughts. A very plausible explanation is that the writing
prompt (out of a finite pool of continuously recycled prompts) in question
was a fluke. Many teachers teach to old copies of the tests. Heaven forbid
that the press go after and scandalize the testing rather than teachers.
Proficiency test put off; teacher investigated
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Kathy Lynn Gray
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
A Reynoldsburg teacher is under investigation in connection with a "severe"
breach of security in the preparation of the sixthgrade proficiency test in
writing, school officials say.
Citing an ongoing investigation, school officials declined to elaborate on
specifics of the problem. The district¹s 500 sixthgraders did not take the
test Monday as scheduled, said Superintendent Richard A. Ross.
The middle-school teacher suspected of the breach has been suspended with
pay, Ross said. District, state and union officials would not name the
teacher or explain the nature of the security problem.
An anonymous caller alerted the Ohio Department of Education on March 2
about a breach at Hannah Ashton Middle School, Ross said. The district
investigated the allegation and decided before Monday not to give the test,
"We wanted to make sure the integrity of the kids and of the kids¹ scores
would not be compromised," Ross said yesterday.
He said the security breach affected only the writing portion of the test,
which asks students to read a story and answer questions about it.
Reynoldsburg sixth-graders will be taking the reading portion of the test
Chris Lopez, legal counsel for the Ohio Education Association, said the
teacher involved is being represented by a union attorney. Five other
teachers have asked the association for legal help because district
officials have talked with them about the case, Lopez said.
Even with a protocol breach, the test typically is still administered and
the Ohio Department of Education determines whether the infraction was
severe enough to invalidate it.
"It seems the employer made a determination not to go ahead with the test on
its own," Lopez said. "In many of these situations, these allegations turn
out to be unmeritorious, untrue ? you pick the word."
Ross says the allegations warrant the action taken by Reynoldsburg.
"We think it was a severe breach of security that would jeopardize the
integrity of the test."
All the district¹s sixth-graders attend Hannah Ashton, which also is home to
Reynoldsburg¹s fifth-graders. Ross sent a letter home Monday to parents of
sixth-graders informing them of the incident.
"Quite frankly, we are all stunned and saddened by this information," the
Ross said there is no indication that the security breach went beyond Hannah
"We¹re not sure it even got to our students," he said.
Ross has asked the Education Department to give Reynoldsburg sixth-graders a
different test for this year.
J.C. Benton, Education Department spokesman, said the department has not
decided what to do but will take "appropriate" measures.
The department could suspend or revoke a teacher¹s license for interfering
with proficiency tests. At least four teachers have had their license
suspended for helping students on proficiency tests in some way.
Dispatch reporter Dean Narciso contributed to this story .
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