The Lake Sun has obtained reports from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education outlining details of the investigation into the alleged cheating and improprieties during the most recent round of MAP testing at the Camdenton Middle School.
According to the documents provided by DESE, the alleged MAP testing violations are isolated to the middle school and two staff members who were placed on administrative leave.
The report identified one seventh-grade math teacher referred to only as "Heather," the building principal and an individual referred to as "Mr. Kirksey."
The initial reporting of the MAP testing discrepancies appears to be connected to several students who were in the classroom where the math teacher was giving signals to students when answers on the testing forms were incorrect.
The report said the teacher was nodding "no" when students had the wrong answers. Referred to only as "Heather" in the report, the teacher is believed to have been with the district for about two years. The report said the teacher denied any wrongdoing.
According to the report, 21 students were interviewed and gave similar answers. Other improprieties noted in the report include the teacher admitting to students what she was doing was wrong and could get her fired. The teacher allowed students extra time to take the tests and checked their answers at the end of the testing period.
The students reportedly shared with others they had been given help with answers. One or more parents may have been responsible for reporting what happened.
The district allegedly learned of the possible testing problems over a weekend and immediately launched an internal investigation.
It was during the investigation by the district into the classroom allegations that other discrepancies surfaced involving testing procedures. The district self-reported their findings to DESE.
The state requires MAP testing be done during specific time periods for targeted sections without breaks under the supervision of a certified testing administrator. Among the irregularities with the testing procedures identified in the report alleged the building principal allowed an uncertified staff member to oversee classrooms where testing was taking place, handle testing materials and had not followed the testing criteria that states testing should be completed during specified times and in one sitting.
It is important to note that there is nothing in the report to indicate the building principal/Mr. Kirksey collaborated with the teacher.
What DESE is saying
It is possible the Camdenton School District will emerge from the investigation relatively unscathed.
According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education schools are on a honor system for reporting MAP testing irregularities.
Sarah Potter, DESE communications coordinator, said the Camdenton School District has been nothing but cooperative and forthcoming.
Page 2 of 2 - While it is too soon to tell what will happen with the test scores, the district will not face any financial penalty and will probably keep their accreditation intact, she said.
The scores will be decided by a committee that will be convened within 30 days of the final report being submitted.
Potter said the testing issue could have an impact on the school's annual performance report but that won't be decided until the committee meets.