DCSS says answer sheets were not altered - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DCSS says answer sheets were not altered

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  In February, the Dougherty County School system came under scrutiny for allegedly changing students' answers on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test.

An audit by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement uncovered evidence that incorrect answers were changed on tests after students turned them in.

With recent problems involving testing in Dougherty County schools, parents and school board members were left to wonder what happened. Today, they received some answers.

Dougherty County School Board members say a trip to Indianapolis, where the test is headquartered, paid off. They are now convinced that teachers and principals did not change answers on Criterion Referenced Competency Tests.

"I'm confident that there was no cheating scandal going on in Dougherty County Schools," said Chairman David Maschke.

After the state determined a high number of answers were erased and changed from wrong to right, auditors assigned the school system the task of investigating within its ranks to find out what happened.

And while some teachers and principals were questioned, the board hired a consultant to travel to Indianapolis where the tests are stored and investigate the findings of the state.

That consultant, James Wilson, reported to the board today that he found no evidence that answers were improperly erased and corrected. "Every single test for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in Dougherty County was made available to us."

Wilson says, however, not all the documents they needed were made available to them. "I would have also very much liked to look at the first and second grade test booklets, but we weren't allowed to do that by the state."

63% of the classrooms that were flagged by the state were first and second grade classes.

The CRCT audit showed Dougherty County Schools had an unusually high number of erasures-- up to 77% in some classrooms.

So the state instructed the Dougherty County School System to conduct an internal probe to find out what happened.

But it appears school administrators focused on explaining away the erasures, rather than looking within the system to see if there is a problem.

"We went to extensive efforts to determine and to try to get to the bottom of this. And I'm confident that our educators do a good job. I'm delighted to see closure," said Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley.

According to Whatley, the investigation into what happened with the CRCT tests is now closed. The next School Board meeting is scheduled for May 10th.


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