School & District Management

28 Pa. Districts and Charters Cleared of Cheating

By Benjamin Herold — January 13, 2012 3 min read

Over half of the 38 school districts and 10 charter schools across Pennsylvania that were flagged for statistical irregularities on 2009 state exams have been cleared of any improprieties, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Thursday, the department released a list of 22 districts and 6 charter schools that have been told no further inquiry is necessary. In the release, Press Secretary Tim Eller noted that the investigation is ongoing.

The School District of Philadelphia was not among the 22 traditional districts cleared. Earlier Thursday afternoon, District spokesperson Evelyn Sample-Oates said the District had “not received anything from the state clearing any school...we’ve heard nothing at all.”

Six charter schools serving Philadelphia-area students were among those cleared:

• Alliance for Progress

• Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD)

• Maritime Academy

• Northwood Academy

• Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School

• Wisshickon Charter

Not on the list of districts cleared to date was the state’s largest bricks-and-mortar charter, Chester Community Charter School, which serves over 2,700 students, or 54 percent of the kindergarten through eighth grade students in the mightily struggling Chester-Upland school district.

There was no word yet from state officials on when further results of their investigation might be released.

A CHAD representative shared with the Notebook/Newsworks a letter from the state education department dated January 5 stating that “in the absence of additional information related to the administration of the 2009 PSSA, no further inquiry is necessary.”

“We knew that we did everything as were supposed to,” said Patricia Cirone, the executive assistant to CHAD Head of School Peter Kountz.

“We were always very confident we would be cleared.”

Richard Noonan, superintendent of Wallingford-Swarthmore, posted a statement on the district web site critical of how the department of education has handled the inquiry.

“The right thing would have been to immediately acknowledge there were absolutely no testing improprieties at Strath-Haven (high school), and to commend the extraordinary efforts that were made by the school to strenghten student achievement.”

In July of this year, the Pennsylvania education department ordered 10 charters and 38 other school districts to investigate a total of 89 Pennsylvania schools whose 2009 PSSA results were flagged for statistical irregularities in a “forensic data analysis” conducted by test-maker Data Recognition Corporation (DRC). The analysis looked for a combination of unlikely jumps in student performance levels, irregular patterns of wrong-to-right erasures on student response sheets, and other indicators of potential wrongdoing.

Though the district and charter reports were due in August, the education department has been slow to share results of their review.

The Lebanon Daily News reported Thursday that the Lebanon School District received a letter, signed by state Deputy Secretary of Education Carolyn C. Dumaresq, exonerating their district of wrongdoing. The William Penn School School District received a similar letter. So did Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, according to school board member Rick Sonntag.

In August, School District of Philadelphia officials announced that they had conducted an internal review of the results of 28 District schools flagged in the 2009 DRC report and determined that 13 of the schools warranted further inquiry.

The officials said they hoped for more information and support from the education department before proceeding, however.

The complete list of districts and charters cleared to date:

• Abington Heights

• Alliance for Progress CS

• Ambridge Area SD

• Belle Vernon Area SD

• Charter HS for Architecture and Design

• Chambersburg Area SD

• Cheltenham Township SD

• Connellsville Area SD

• Dallastown Area SD

• Easton Area SD

• Ephrata Area SD

• Gateway SD

• Governor Mifflin SD

• Lebanon SD

• Lincoln IU 12

• Maritime Academy CS

• Minersville Area SD

• North Schuykill SD

• Northwood Academy CS

• Pennsbury SD

• Pennsylvania Cyber CS

• Pleasant Valley SD

• South Western SD

• Spring-Ford Area SD

• Wallingford-Swarthmore SD

• Wellsboro Area SD

• William Penn SD

• Wissahickon CS

Republished with permission from the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Copyright © 2012 the Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management More Than 1 Million Students Didn't Enroll During the Pandemic. Will They Come Back?
Education Week analyzed state data to gather a more comprehensive understanding of this year's enrollment loss.
6 min read
Students participate in class outside at the Woodland Pond School, a private school  located near Bangor, Maine. Maine experienced one of the nation's largest drops in student enrollment this school year, according to an EdWeek analysis.
Students participate in class outside at the Woodland Pond School, a private school located near Bangor, Maine. Maine experienced one of the nation's largest drops in student enrollment this school year, according to an EdWeek analysis.
Photo courtesy of Woodland Pond School
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Sponsor
Drive Improvement in Your School With Harvard’s Certificate in School Management and Leadership
Aubree Mills had two dilemmas she needed to address: One was recruiting and retaining good teachers at the Ira A. Murphy Elementary School
Content provided by Harvard Graduate School of Education
School & District Management Opinion Are Your Leadership Practices Good Enough for Racial Justice?
Scratch being a hero. Instead, build trust and reach beyond school walls, write Jennifer Cheatham and John B. Diamond.
Jennifer Cheatham & John B. Diamond
5 min read
Illustration of leadership.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: DigitalVision Vectors, iStock, Getty)
School & District Management We Pay Superintendents Big Bucks and Expect Them to Succeed. But We Hardly Know Them
National data is skimpy, making it hard to know what influences superintendents' decisions to move on, retire, or how long they stay. Why?
8 min read
Conceptual image of tracking with data.
marcoventuriniautieri/iStock/Getty