Assessment

Cheating Charges Roil N.J. District

By Lesli A. Maxwell — April 04, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
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
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

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 The State of Teaching Where Teachers Say the Pressure to Change Grades Comes From
Teachers are more likely to be pressured by parents than school leaders.
4 min read
Conceptul image in blues of a teacher handing out graded papers.
Liz Yap/Education Week and E+
Assessment What the Research Says AI and Other Tech Can Power Better Testing. Can Teachers Use the New Tools?
Assessment experts call for better educator supports for technology use.
3 min read
Illustration of papers and magnifying glass
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Assessment What the Research Says What Teachers Should Know About Integrating Formative Assessment With Instruction
Teachers need to understand how tests fit into their larger instructional practice, experts say.
3 min read
Students with raised hands.
E+ / Getty
Assessment AI May Be Coming for Standardized Testing
An international test may offer clues on how AI can help create better assessments.
4 min read
online test checklist 1610418898 brightspot
champpixs/iStock/Getty