Dougherty School Board chair vows investigation - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty School Board chair vows investigation

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The Dougherty County School Board Chairman says he heard rumors of test tampering in the past, but nothing to the extent the state reported Wednesday.

Chairman David Maschke was shocked by an audit released by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement.

He welcomes an independent investigation into cheating allegations on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test and promises his own investigation.

David Maschke said he has serious doubts that C.R.C.T. tampering by teachers or administrators could be as extensive as the state audit reported. But he said the board and superintendent assure the community they will investigate the findings, and promise to fire anyone they find behind it.

The Georgia Department of Education Board voted this morning to accept the Governor's Office of Student Achievement report on C.R.C.T. tampering without any changes, and to work with the Governor's Office to take the "appropriate steps" if teachers or administrators changed test scores. That report said Dougherty County schools had the second most severe concerns in the state, with 8 of 22 schools having high percentages of erasures changing wrong answers to correct.

Maschke said "It certainly is a black eye."

Maschke said he knew employees had been fired for test tampering in his 9 years on the board, and he had heard troubling rumors.

Maschke said "Spasmodic complaints about very isolated cases of potential cooking of test results. Nothing close to what these allegations are."

Maschke said he found it very hard to believe up to 77 percent of teachers in some schools could be cheating.

Maschke said "To have that many people involved in something, somewhere along the line I think we certainly would have had leaks or someone would have said something about it."

Maschke said the parents, students, and taxpayers deserve to know the truth.

The GOSA requires the Dougherty County School Superintendent do an investigation of the findings, and report back to them by a deadline. But so far the GOSA could not tell us when that deadline is. Dr. Sally Whatley has asked the State Professional Standards Commission to select a investigation team made up of people outside Dougherty County. Maschke promises he will do his own digging as well.

Maschke said as far as he is concerned, any teacher or administrator found to have changed test answers should be fired. The School Attorney says one teacher in the last five years has been fired for test tampering following a hearing, but he recalls others have resigned after being questioned about allegations.

State monitors will oversee testing this spring at schools in question in Dougherty County.

Maschke says if there's a significant change in results, that would be a clear indication that tampering has been going on.

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