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Teachers At Gary School Suspended For Cheating On 2017 ISTEP

The investigation, which ended in November, led to the suspension of licenses for several educators at the school. (Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News)

The state has invalidated 2017 ISTEP scores for an entire school in Gary after an investigation into what education officials are calling one of the biggest cheating cases involving teachers.

The ISTEP test vendor Pearson flagged some unusual data from the Frankie W. McCullough Academy For Girls in Gary in 2017, prompting the Indiana Department of Education to take a closer look.

Spokesperson Adam Baker says they found clear evidence of cheating.

“It was just blatant cheating that had happened,” he says. “And because we were not sure how widespread it was, we had to invalidate all of their scores from grades three through eight – so all of the ISTEP for the entire school.”

Baker says changed test answers, multi-day testing windows, and unrealistic test completion times made the cheating obvious.

The investigation, which ended in November, led to the suspension of licenses for several educators at the school, including the test coordinator and the principal.

Baker says two educators voluntarily gave up their teaching licenses, while five others had theirs revoked after a judge examined the evidence. The educators won’t be able to pursue a new license for at least two years.

The district was not available for comment.

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