Test Security Violation Invalidates Results for 21 Third Graders at Flower Valley Elementary School

October 13, 2000
A test security violation during the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) at Flower Valley Elementary School last May has resulted in the invalidation of the test results for 21 third grade students and disciplinary action against two staff members.

An investigation was initiated after the violation was discovered in June. The investigation was expanded after school resumed in September and completed on Monday, October 9, 2000. A detailed findings and recommendations report was provided to the superintendent on October 10. Staff and parents of the school were informed today [Friday, October 13]. The statewide and county results on the MSPAP are to be released by the state in November.

The investigation found that a third grade teacher in May 2000 returned testing booklets from the previous day's test in order to allow students time to reexamine a mathematics item for three to five minutes and use calculators to check their response. The test item in question permits the use of a calculator but students mistakenly were not provided this opportunity. The investigation confirmed that the teacher, who had been absent when that portion of the test was given, attempted to resolve this error upon returning to school.

"I recognize that this may appear to be a well-intentioned error, but the action resulted in the invalidation of testing results for the 21 students and caused a serious violation of test security and protocols," said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, in a report to the Board of Education.

In a letter to parents and staff today that detailed the incident, Mr. Joseph I. Headman, Jr., community superintendent for the school, noted that this "reflects an isolated error and should not diminish the overall quality of the school, the academic program, and the instructional staff."

As a result of the investigation, the following action steps are under way:

1. The MSPAP test results for the 1999-2000 school year for 21 third grade students in one testing group are invalidated at Flower Valley Elementary School.

2. Appropriate personnel actions are being taken for violations of testing protocol and procedures.

3. he previously initiated plan to encourage all school-based staff in the school system to review testing procedures and protocols is being strengthened.

4. A formal protocol for the planning and implementation of investigations into test security violations is being established.


Note: The PDF files below are the report to the Board of Education and the findings and recommendations.

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