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CMS Had Six Testing Violations, One Involved Cheating

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools had six violations of the state's standardized testing policies this past school year. In one case a teacher tried to point students to the right answers. Most of the violations had to do with not following testing procedures. But one case at Lake Wylie Elementary fell into the category of cheating, says Chris Cobitz with the district's Office of Accountability. "The proctor appears based on the statements of the students to have indicated some things that would certainly have helped the students on the test, which is completely inappropriate behavior," says Cobitz. Reports say the staffer punched numbers into a calculator or pointed toward an answer. It's not clear how the district disciplined that employee. But the state's Department of Public Instruction says that staff member no longer has a job because of budget cuts. But we do know that punishments for the six employees who broke testing policies range from a written warning to a two week suspension without pay. They include an assistant principal, teachers and a teaching assistant. But names of violators were not released because of privacy laws. "It concerns me that someone appears to have provided assistance to the students," says Cobitz. "It does also reassure me, however, that our systems are doing what they should be doing. Because the school recognized there was an issue, the school reported the issue and it was handled very swiftly." So how often does this type of cheating happen in North Carolina? "Intentionally broken testing policy is actually very rare," says Tammy Howard with the state's Department of Public Instruction. "The cases where it is intentionalI would say maybe three times a year. In any given year, it could be more, it could be less." Last month an investigation in Georgia found widespread cheating by teachers in Atlanta. Things like erasing wrong answers and replacing them with right ones. Atlanta Public Schools based teacher pay in part on test scores. That's something CMS administrators hope to do.