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Cheating on Oklahoma exams leads to resignations, retesting

The annual summary of irregularities investigated for the high stakes Oklahoma exams administered during the 2010-11 school year uncovered cheating and errors in six schools.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: January 27, 2012

Test scores for six schools were invalidated for major infractions during the 2010-11 school year, according to a report given Thursday to the state Education Board.

Every year the state Education Department screens test results for irregularities that may indicate cheating on Oklahoma's high-stakes exams.

The results are used for federal accountability and, this year for the first time, serve as a graduation requirement.

At Tipton Public Schools in Tillman County, a third-grade math teacher told students when their answers were incorrect and allowed them to change their answers, according to the report.

After the investigation the teacher resigned.

“The administration was tipped off after the day of testing,” Tipton Superintendent Shane Boothe said. “The next day we investigated and contacted the state Department of Education. All of those tests were invalidated and the students were retested.”

Maridyth McBee, interim assistant state superintendent, said every year the state randomly inspects classrooms where tests are being administered, screens every test for too many questions being changed from wrong to right, and receives tips from schools and the public.

“We can't be in every classroom across the state as the tests are being administered, but ... we do make it more inconvenient for people to not follow the procedures,” McBee said.

Board member Bill Price asked if the cheating was more widespread than what is reported.

“Of course,” McBee responded.

Boothe said this was the first time he had come across cheating on a standardized test and he made sure to do a thorough investigation.

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