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The Lake News Online
  • DESE investigation of MAP cheating complete

  • Since discovering the possibilities of MAP test cheating at Camdenton Middle School earlier this summer, the community has wondered how it would affect the district. Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, DESE, has completed their investigation into the alleged cheating and found two breaches of security.
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  • Since discovering the possibilities of MAP test cheating at Camdenton Middle School earlier this summer, the community has wondered how it would affect the district. Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, DESE, has completed their investigation into the alleged cheating and found two breaches of security.
    DESE officials said that evidence was found that students were allowed extra time and that the principal divided the 7th grade Communication Arts test over two days when it was supposed to be a one-day test.
    Due to the breaches of security, that test data will not be used for the district's annual performance report. The report is what determines the district's accreditation. DESE uses three years of reports to determine the accreditation classification. Therefore, this one incident will most likely not affect the district's accreditation.
    According to the documents provided by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education , 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.
    Page 2 of 2 - It is important to note that there is nothing in the report to indicate the building principal/Mr. Kirksey collaborated with the teacher.
    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.
    Recently, the district named Dr. Paula Brown as the interim principal.
    Brown has served as the Assistant Principal at the high school since 2000. She is entering her 34th year with the Camdenton District. Brown began teaching in the district in 1980. During her time with the district she has taught art, served as a counselor and directed Horizons.
    Hadfield sent a memo to the Camdenton R-III teaching staff on Wednesday, July 10. In his message he told staff, "As permanent employee decisions are pending, we thank you for your cooperation and patience at this time."
    Hadfield could not give the Lake Sun a timeframe on how long the interim will last. He also declined to discuss the status of Kirksey's relationship with the district.
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