Two elementary school teachers in Gadsden County were cleared of wrongdoing when they interfered or coached student responses on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the state Department of Education announced Friday.
In the same release announcing the conclusion of the inspector general investigation, no cause was found for an unusually high number of erasures that occurred on last year’s FCATs at Charter School of Excellence in Broward County, Chaffee Trail Elementary in Duval County, Greensboro Elementary in Gadsden County, and Jefferson Elementary in Jefferson County.
The 16-page report did recommend several changes, including: reducing the number of people that have access to the storage area where tests are locked; requiring at least two people be present when test materials are unlocked, prepared and returned; reducing the time tests are on campus; and randomly observing how tests are administered.
The Florida Department of Education released the following statement regarding the conclusion of the investigation.Tallahassee, Fla., August 17, 2012 – The Florida Department of Education today announced the conclusion of an investigation into test anomalies on the 2011 administration of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The investigation was focused on an unusually high number of erasures at four schools in Broward (Charter School of Excellence), Duval (Chaffee Trail Elementary), Gadsden (Greensboro Elementary), and Jefferson (Jefferson Elementary) counties. The investigation by the department’s Office of Inspector General revealed that although the number of erasures on test answer documents was above the conservative threshold of one in a trillion when tests are taken under standardized conditions, a determination could not be made about the cause of the high number of wrong-to-right erasures at three of the four schools (Charter School of Excellence, Chaffee Trail Elementary, and Jefferson Elementary). Although evidence does not support that teachers at Greensboro Elementary altered student documents, statements taken during the investigation revealed they did coach or interfere with student responses during the administration of the FCAT. Through its contract with Pearson, the 2011 spring administration of the FCAT and FCAT 2.0 was the first year the Department of Education utilized a sophisticated analysis of test answer documents by Caveon Data Forensics to identify atypical testing results. In May 2011, Caveon identified 25 instances of excessive erasures at 21 schools throughout the state and asked school districts to conduct internal investigations at the flagged schools to determine the cause. As a result of these school district investigations, all but the four schools mentioned above were cleared of any wrongdoing.