Standardized test scores thrown out at eastern Ky. elementary school after allegations of 'cheating'

By  | 

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP/WSAZ) -- UPDATE 5/14/19 @ 10 p.m.
Drastically improved test scores that appeared too good to be true turned out to be just that, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Kentucky education officials say standardized test scores are being invalidated at Betsy Layne Elementary School in Floyd County, Kentucky.

A report released Monday lays out how some staff members at Betsy Layne Elementary in Floyd County erased wrong answers on standardized tests and filled in the correct ones.

Officials also say they found evidence staff provided inappropriate assistance to students during testing to improve scores.

"They should've known better before they did all this," parent Carolyn Hamilton, who lives close to the school, said. "They knew it was wrong."

The report lists extreme anomalies in tests at the school going back to 2013.

It says says from 2015 to 2016, scores improved in reading from 46 all the way up to 83. In math scores rocketed up from 44 to 85.

The report says three administrators and a teacher would be reported to Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board, which oversees educators' state licenses.

The report says staff in the district reported incredible pressure from the former superintendent and chief academic officer to have high test scores, and the motto under that superintendent was "whatever it takes."

Staff told investigators principals whose schools didn't achieve high test scores were intimidated with possible corrective action plans or personnel actions.

A retired Betsy Layne teacher who wanted to remain anonymous says it's disheartening to work in an atmosphere where the pressure is so great to improve test scores that it comes at the expense of the students' education.

Current Floyd County Superintendent Danny Adkins said he was reviewing the report and meeting with the school district's attorney to determine how to best address the problems.

Adkins told WSAZ that he got the report Monday morning and that four employees are named in it. Those names will be turned over to a disciplinary board, according to Adkins, who said those staff remain employed by the school district.

"We will correct any issues," Adkins said, adding that administrators are "unwavering in our dedication to students."

Adkins said, moving ahead, administrators will place a much greater emphasis on testing training and having monitors in place to ensure protocols are being followed.



ORIGINAL STORY
Kentucky education officials say standardized test scores are being invalidated at an elementary school in eastern Kentucky.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the decision comes after the Kentucky Department of Education launched an investigation of 2017 K-Prep test scores at Betsy Layne Elementary School in Floyd County. Results of the investigation released Monday said there was evidence that staff "deliberately altered student exams and provided inappropriate assistance" to improve scores.

The report says three administrators and a teacher would be reported to Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board, which oversees educators' state licenses.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said he would characterize what the investigation found as "cheating."

Floyd County Superintendent Danny Adkins said he was reviewing the report and meeting with the school district's attorney to determine how to best address the problems.

Adkins told WSAZ that he got the report Monday morning and that four employees are named in it. Those names will be turned over to a disciplinary board, according to Adkins, who said those staff remain employed by the school district.

"We will correct any issues," Adkins said, adding that administrators are "unwavering in our dedication to students."

Adkins said, moving ahead, administrators will place a much greater emphasis on testing training and having monitors in place to ensure protocols are being followed.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.