Nineteen students at Woodland’s Douglass Middle School had their state test scores thrown out because a teacher improperly helped them answer questions.
The California Department of Education invalidated their scores after the Woodland Joint Unified School District reported the incident in May, according to state spokesman Peter Tira.
“We see cases every year where a teacher improperly helps students,” he said. “Those tests are invalidated and the local school and district determines what, if any, actions are taken with the teacher.”
Neither CDE nor the school district would provide details about the incident, including the name of the teacher.
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Douglass Middle School Principal Derek Cooper contacted parents of the students impacted by the CDE decision, said Tom Pritchard, assistant superintendent of the Woodland Joint Unified School District.
“Unfortunately, any actions taken against an employee as a part of our progressive discipline process is considered a confidential personnel matter,” wrote Pritchard in an email. “As such, I am unable to share with you the name(s) of the employee(s) who were involved in the incident.”
The 19 students will get their actual scores with a flag indicating that an irregularity occurred, Tira said. The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress scores will be counted at the lowest possible achievement level for accountability purposes, he said. Although schools no longer receive API scores, a cumulative score is posted online for informational purposes.
“We test more than 3 million students,” Tira said. “Given a state of our size, these things happen each year but they don’t impact very many students and the results are dealt with appropriately.”
Pritchard said Christina Lambie, the district’s director of curriculum, assessment, research and evaluation, reported the incident to CDE and conducted an investigation. She reported her findings to CDE.
The state requires that school districts report any incidents that could threaten the validity of the test within 24 hours of the incident, according to information from the CDE. These incidents can include anything from a fire alarm being pulled during testing to students sharing answers on social media.
In 2013, the California Department of Education flagged 242 schools for possible rules violations during state standardized tests, primarily because students posted test-related photos to social media sites.
Fifteen schools in the Sacramento region received warnings because testing officials traced photos from testing rooms or test booklet covers back to local schools, although there were no images of the actual exam materials.