Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Two Indiana Districts Investigating Possible Breeches Of Testing Rules

A student writes with No. 2 pencil and eraser in hand.

Local school administrators in two separate districts are now investigating whether strict rules designed to keep statewide standardized testing secure were breeched at two Indiana schools, StateImpact confirmed Friday.

Officials at the Indiana Department of Education have been informed of the alleged security breeches, spokesperson Stephanie Sample says — one at North Central High School in Washington Township, another at Hammond High School.

Full details aren’t clear in either case yet, but Sample says severe breeches can lead to throwing out test questions statewide, and can even jeopardize a teacher’s license. 

The allegations involve the state’s end-of-course assessments — “the ECA’s.” — in Algebra and English 10. The ISTEP is administered to Grades 3-8.

The Times of Northwest Indiana has details of the allegations at Hammond High School:

Hammond High School Principal Leslie Yanders on Wednesday confirmed three teachers were suspended with pay while the district investigates an alleged breach of security in the end-of-course assessments at the high school.

Last week, a teacher was reportedly angry about a writing prompt, or question, which she called “culturally biased.” She shared it with two other teachers by email, and one of those two teachers reviewed the question with his class and reportedly presented it as an assignment to his students last week.

The Indy Star reports district officials are keeping mum about an alleged breech at North Central High School:

In this case, someone reported to the state agency a possible breach in connection with North Central’s administering of an end-of-year assessment that high school students must pass before graduating…

A district spokeswoman said school officials are releasing few details.

“We were notified by the DOE that there had been a possible test breach at North Central High School with the end-of-year exams,” said Ellen Rogers, the spokeswoman. “We are cooperating with the DOE currently on investigating that situation.”

State education officials have asked teachers to begin signing ethics pledges before administering statewide tests, mainly to underscore the message that keeping the test as secure as possible is important.

Last year, the Indiana Department of Education reported 11 breeches of statewide testing security.

On Friday, IDOE spokesperson Stephanie Sample told StateImpact she thinks it would be hard for a breech in testing security to be chalked up to an innocent, honest mistake:

“The protocol is pretty clearly spelled out to the test coordinators in each school building. There’s a script you have to read, a clear list of ‘do’s-and-don’ts,’” she said. “There’s really no reason for anything like this to happen.”

Anybody know more about what happened in either case? Post it in our comments section or e-mail at indiana@stateimpact.org.

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