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Cheating Violations Found In 3 DCPS Schools

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An outside firm was on the watch for cheating violations on District standardized test takers.
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An outside firm was on the watch for cheating violations on District standardized test takers.

An outside firm hired to look into the 2011 standardized test results in the District's public schools found cheating occurred in three classrooms.

Cheating occurred at Martin Luther King Elementary School, Langdon Education Center and Hyde Leadership Public Charter School, now known as Perry Street Prep. Teachers in those classrooms read or helped out with correct answers and left students unattended.

State Superintendent for Education Hosanna Mahaley, says schools were flagged for different reasons, including if students erased the wrong answers and penciled in the right ones at an uncommonly high rate, or if they showed extraordinary gains in their test results.

"There was an incident where a parent whose child came home with test results that she didn't think were possible for her child," says Mahaley. "And so she asked him, 'well how did you score so well?' The student said the teacher was giving answers."

But Mahaley and Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, say the results represent just a tiny fraction of the more than 1,200 classrooms. Henderson says she hopes this gives residents what she calls, a renewed sense of confidence : "That they feel that our outcomes are reliable and that this idea that there is widespread cheating in DCPS, is finally put to rest.

Henderson says the teachers involved are in the process of being fired. Of the 70 schools flagged, there were 20 other traditional and charter classrooms found to have what are described as moderate or minor violations including staff talking on their cell phones during testing and missing forms.

Test results are extremely important in D.C. and factor into decisions including whether teachers and principals keep their jobs and how much they are paid in bonuses. The Inspector General has not yet released findings of a 2010 standardized test investigation.

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