Huffpost Education

Texas School With 'Exemplary' Status Only Taught 2 Subjects, Faked Other Grades

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A Dallas elementary school that was given "exemplary" status for academic achievement only taught its third graders reading and math last year, and fabricated scores for every student in other subjects like social studies and science.

The Dallas Morning News reports that to propel the school's status, Field Elementary School Principal Roslyn Carter "directed and caused false school records to be created," so that teachers could focus on student excellence in reading in math -- the only subjects third graders are tested on for the state-wide Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Student performance on the standardized exam helps determine a school's status.

Carter is on paid administrative leave and has denied many of the allegations, noting that she was unaware of certain rules about grading. According to the investigation by Dallas Independent School District investigators, parents were never informed of the falsified grades, nor were they told that their children had missed nearly a year of instruction in subjects other than reading and math.

Students are receiving remediation as necessary to make up for lost time and education in untaught subjects, and 10 school employees were cited in the investigators' 227-page report for failing to report grade fabrication.

The news of Field Elementary's misconduct comes amid numerous allegations of cheating among the nation's school teachers. A report released in July following a two-year investigation revealed widespread cheating among nearly 180 of Atlanta's educators who corrected student answers on standardized tests.

About a dozen Atlanta educators implicated in that scandal lost their licenses in the first round of sanctions imposed last month, but further investigations have temporarily been halted.

The U.S. Department of Education has also joined the local investigation into allegations that D.C. Public Schools' steep improvements on standardized tests over two years were the result of widespread cheating. Officials called for the probe in March after USA Today reported on excessive erasures on answer sheets from more than 100 schools.

And in Connecticut, 160 students had to re-take their Connecticut Mastery Tests after teachers were found to have tampered with the exams. A dozen of the offending educators are losing 20 days pay and must serve 25 hours of community service by tutoring students after school. Nine of those teachers returned to classrooms last month.

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