School board talks test security

Published 9:09pm Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A state intervention team member discussed test security to the public weeks after the Alabama State Department of Education suspected altered test scores within the Selma City School system.

Dr. Ann Roy Moore, a state intervention team member who has been overseeing testing in the Selma City school system for the last few weeks, assured the audience at Tuesday night’s school board work session that the state would take all the necessary steps to ensure that cheating would not occur within the local school system.

“The state department spends lots of money having different kind of test developed. So if anything happens with that security piece, then they would have to redo even one item on the tests,” Moore said. “That’s very costly, so they’re very particular about how you implement testing.”

The Alabama State Department of Education released a report in early March stating that test scores at elementary schools in the Selma City school system showed signs of manipulation after comparing Selma’s scores to others in the state, using factors such as absenteeism and truancy.

Acting superintendent Larry DiChiara said state was able to determine that scores are not reliable, but they have not found any details since they started investigating the issue upon discovering it.

He said the possibilities of how the scores became unreliable are nearly impossible to determine.

DiChiara said it could be something as simple as a teacher assisting students during testing.

“We have no way of knowing if that’s what’s happened,” DiChiara said after the meeting. “All we’re doing is putting things in place to make sure that it doesn’t happen anymore.”

Moore said they make sure all counselors, coordinators and proctors of each school within the system are trained in test security.

“We spend lots of time, not only trying to keep up with schedules, but we also spend a lot of time making sure we go over all of the alerts and all of the information about what you may or may not do during the testing period.” Moore said.

She said proper testing also requires that those regulating the testing make sure that students taking the test are not disturbed.

Students are also asked to sit a certain distance from one another, so they cannot easily cheat by reading each other’s answers

“We want to make sure to do everything correctly, so that we’re not challenged about what we are doing,” Moore said.



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