Cheating Investigations Underway in N.J., Conn.

By Christina A. Samuels — August 05, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As a part of my recent article on the response to the cheating scandal in Atlanta, I tried to include a mention of the latest cheating investigations going on around the country.

But the news moves faster than newspaper deadlines, and now there are two additional investigations underway that I did not mention, in New Jersey and in a school in Waterbury, Conn.

In Waterbury, 17 teachers and administrators at Hopeville Elementary School were placed on leave while the state looks into cheating on the Connecticut Mastery Test administered last spring.

In an article that ran in the Connecticut Post, the state commissioner of education said that school employees who alter tests should not only lose their jobs, they should face having to pay for the cheating investigation:

Faced with having to shell out $20,000 or more to pay for an investigation into allegations of cheating at an elementary school in Waterbury, [Commissioner George] Coleman told the state Board of Education state statutes need to be stronger to level penalties to recoup the costs incurred as a result of testing improprieties. Costs involve not only an investigation, but retesting students and hiring substitutes. "There are many levels of costs ... as a token of how incensed I am, I am hoping that the board can adopt or support the department to develop legislation that enhances the liability of professionals who engage in this kind of work," Coleman said.

In New Jersey, the state is reviewing test scores in 34 schools that had a high rate of wrong-to-right erasures on answer sheets. The Press of Atlantic City‘s article noted that no one is saying cheating occurred. But the situation in Atlanta has made the state more cautious:

Erasures alone are fine," DOE spokesman Justin Barra said. "We want students to take time to review their answers. But we are collecting more information." Barra said the DOE also investigates tips, and in 2010-11 received 40 complaints alleging improper testing procedures. In 2010, eight teachers were found to have improperly helped students on state tests.

And, for a look into the mind of a teacher who admitted helping her students change answers on state standardized tests, be sure to check out a recent post in The Notebook, a website devoted to covering Philadelphia schools news.

The anonymous teacher says that the intense pressure to raise scores contributed to her cheating. But she also says that she was motivated by loyalty to her students: “I wanted them to succeed, because I believe their continued failure on these terrible tests crushes their spirit,” she told The Notebook.

District Dossier will be taking a short break. I’ll be back with new posts Aug. 17.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
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.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

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 Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment in 2021
In this Spotlight, review newest assessment scores, see how districts will catch up with their supports for disabled students, plus more.
Assessment 'Nation's Report Card' Has a New Reading Framework, After a Drawn-Out Battle Over Equity
The new framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress will guide development of the 2026 reading test.
10 min read
results 925693186 02
Assessment Opinion Q&A Collections: Assessment
Scores of educators share commentaries on the use of assessments in schools.
5 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Assessment Standardized Tests Could Be in Jeopardy in Wake of Biden Decisions, Experts Say
Has the Biden administration shored up statewide tests this year only to risk undermining long-term public backing for them?
6 min read
Image of a test sheet.