New DCSS investigation into test cheating - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New DCSS investigation into test cheating

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School System Attorney Tommy Coleman School System Attorney Tommy Coleman
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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –After failing twice to fully explain evidence of test tampering, the Dougherty County School System is now preparing to help state investigators look into CRCT problems.

School system attorney Tommy Coleman suggested to Dr. Joshua Murfree that he be allowed to review the system's initial investigation and talk to the people who were involved in it so that he'll be prepared to answer questions from special state investigators as they begin a probe of Dougherty County Schools.

The Governor called Dougherty County's first investigation into CRCT cheating allegations, and its lack of response to questions about it "woefully inadequate." The report prepared by a consulting firm the school system hired is nine pages long and offers no answers as to why Dougherty County test results were so different from the rest of the state's.

Now, the school board attorney promises to get to the bottom of whether tests were altered.

School System Attorney Tommy Coleman says there will be no whitewash, and he hopes to work closely with state investigators Mike Bowers and Bob Wilson.

Coleman said "I'm not afraid of doing this. I'm not afraid of these two investigators, and they are not afraid of me."

Governor Sonny Perdue said Dougherty County's first internal investigation was nothing more than trying to explain away the large number of erasures on CRCT's, changing wrong answers to right.

Education Planners, which conducted the investigation for Dougherty County schools, says in the report that they interviewed many teachers and staff members, but names none of them and gives no information of what they said.

The Governor's office is not satisfied with the report's statement that "the test materials were properly secured in a locked closet, vault, or conference room." The state demands to know exactly which employees had access to those tests before and after they were given, and exactly who transported them from the schools to the central office.

The state says they want a full investigation into whether coaching or inappropriate prompting was used in first and second grade classrooms, and that students be interviewed.

Coleman says the consulting firm hired probably did not know how to do such an investigation.

Coleman said "But that doesn't necessarily mean that they falsified it. It just means that they didn't complete, get all the information necessary, and ask some probative questions."

Coleman said his investigation will ask those questions and demand answers.

Coleman said "to either exonerate the people who are involved with it, or to find out if anyone in fact did cheat."

And Coleman said if any school employee did participate in test cheating, they will be fired.

The Governor's office of student achievement gave eight minimum guidelines for Dougherty County's internal school investigation. The local report met only one.

 The Governor's office spokesman said they are thrilled with the district's pledge of cooperation, and would appreciate Coleman's help to enhance their investigation.

  • Click HERE to see Dougherty County's response Letter
  • Click HERE to see the Dougherty System Investigative Report

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