Assessment

Cheating Charges Roil N.J. District

By Lesli A. Maxwell — April 04, 2006 1 min read

At least two investigations are under way in the Camden, N.J., school district, where questions about irregularities on state tests and allegations of a cheating scheme have sparked anger.

Camden’s board of education agreed last week to hire a former prosecutor to look into whether the principal in the district’s best high school was pressured by an assistant superintendent to rig the results of a state test given to 11th graders last year, according to district spokesman Bart Leff.

The New Jersey Department of Education is conducting its own probe into the test-rigging allegations and is scrutinizing state test scores at two of Camden’s elementary schools.

U.S. Wiggins and H.B. Wilson elementary schools posted dramatic one-year gains last year, and the 4th grade mathematics scores at Wilson were the highest in New Jersey. Questions from reporters about the test results prompted the probe, said Jon Zlock, a spokesman for the state education department.

The department also is investigating test scores in 12 schools outside of Camden, but officials have declined to name them.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week that federal education officials were considering their own inquiry.

Camden, a poor district of roughly 17,000 students near Philadelphia, has been classified as needing improvement because of low test scores. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a district’s failure to improve student performance on tests can result in sanctions, including a state takeover.

Joseph D. Carruth, the principal at Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School, has told state and local investigators that in January 2005, Assistant Superintendent Luis Pagan instructed him to alter scores on the state’s high school proficiency exam given to 11th graders in March of last year.

Mr. Pagan has denied Mr. Carruth’s allegations.

Officials with the Camden school district would not comment on any of the test-related allegations because they are under active investigation. Superintendent Annette D. Knox, however, has defended the results, saying the district’s academic programs and improved teaching practices drove test scores higher.

In a letter shown on the district’s cable television station, Ms. Knox wrote that questioning the veracity of the test results amounted to “hatred of poor people and people in Camden in particular.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

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
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
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 Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
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 Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

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

Assessment Opinion AP Exams Can't Be Business as Usual This Year
The College Board seems unconcerned with the collateral damage of its pandemic approach, writes an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
Pete Bavis
5 min read
Illustration of large boat in turbulent waters with other smaller boats falling into the abyss.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Assessment Federal Lawmakers Urge Miguel Cardona to Let States Cancel Tests, Highlighting Discord
A letter from Democratic members to the new education secretary calls for an end to the "flawed" system of annual standardized exams.
3 min read
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
John Minchillo/AP
Assessment How Two Years of Pandemic Disruption Could Shake Up the Debate Over Standardized Testing
Moves to opt out of state tests and change how they're given threaten to reignite fights over high-stakes assessments.
9 min read
Image of a student at a desk.
patat/iStock/Getty
Assessment A Plan for Standardized Test Scores During the Pandemic Has Gotten States' Attention
A testing expert says his idea would provide helpful data with key context, but said other measures about student well-being are crucial.
7 min read
HS class 1257213326
Getty