An investigator for the State Department of Education has begun to question teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests. This is the latest in a string of cheating scandals nationwide.
17 teachers and other employees at Hopeville School in Waterbury have been placed on leave as an investigator looks into possible test tampering. A preliminary review showed many wrong answers on this year’s CMTS had been erased and corrected.
Mark Linabury is a spokesman for the State Department of Education. "The investigator will be conducting interviews of teachers, administrators and staff, and if necessary interviews with students whose test booklets are suspected of alteration. After those interviews are conducted a determination will be made whether there was any involvement of misconduct."
Waterbury’s investigation follow widespread cheating scandals uncovered in the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Atlanta just this year.
Jason Stephens is an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut. He says the rise in cheating by teachers and school staff parallels the rising pressures kids face with high stakes testing. "So essentially they’re operating under the same high stakes system that now students are, whereby if you don’t meet AYP you’re going to be put on notice and ultimately possibly fire all the staff, close the school and reopen it under new management. Its really just teachers and administrators I think just crumbling under that pressure."
State officials say its likely that some Waterbury students will have to retake this year’s CMTs.