Clayton High teachers resign amid test-tampering investigation

Posted February 7, 2011
Updated February 8, 2011

— Two Clayton High School teachers have resigned amid questions over a state-mandated history test, school officials said Monday.

End-of-course history tests given last week at Clayton High were tampered with, said Lynda Fuller, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Public Instruction. Students in the affected classes will have to take the test again this week, she said.

The tests count for 25 percent of students' grades.

U.S. history teacher and assistant baseball coach Christopher Cullom and U.S. history teacher and head wrestling coach Anthony Zimmerman resigned their positions, effective Friday. School officials would not elaborate on why they left.

Principal Clint Eaves sent a letter Monday to the parents of 86 students who will have to retake exams.

School district officials said review sheets provided to the students to prepare for the test included at least one of the actual test questions.

Johnson County Schools and the Department of Public Instruction thoroughly investigated the problem, Eaves said in the letter, and found that some students' test results were deemed invalid because of the "irregularities."

Terri Sessoms Clayton students will re-take history exams

Students will be given a course review on Wednesday and will retake the test Thursday. Eaves said students who don't pass will have an opportunity to take the test again, in accordance with state education policy.

Eaves wrote that concerned parents could discuss the matter with school officials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • 7403 Feb 10, 2011

    Clayton High school is getting worse by the minute.The two teachers did not tamper with the test they just helped the student.And the two teachers where rated out by two other US history teachers. Some student had only US eoc to graduate and now they have to go back to school and take it agian after 3 weeks. My child tells me Clint Eaves has any interest in student he doesn't support some almost any of the programs in the school.On that meeting on Wednesday was a wast of my time and other parents the stupid school officials did not say anything important or discuss anything all i remember is Eaves say dont be mad at me haha. But those poor student shouldn't have to take that test again it will ruined every thing for them. lets just see what else comes from Clayton High am disgusted.

  • WildWilliam Feb 9, 2011

    I also agree that this is a FACT-BASED test. I taught math back in the day and the student had to learn the CONCEPTS... if you don't know how to use the formula, you will NEVER get the right answer without guessing. Same thing with much of science. The state came up with a stupid concept in saying they would "save money by coming up with their own test". Teachers were already doing that for years. There have always been good teachers and bad teachers. It's the same in every profession. I also know that there are personalities involved in this situation that make it stink for the kids because jealousy and pride overrides common sense and putting the kids first. P.S. They could have delayed tenure as an option vs. tossing them out. I was blessed with great teachers, including my mother, that helped me learn in a way that I still remember much of what I was taught throughout my school career. The pressure was put on the kids by the system to validate the system, not the kids. I'm sorry.

  • WildWilliam Feb 9, 2011

    To beline... I DO know the story of what is going on and that is all you need to know. This stinks for the teachers and the students. I know that the tests are bogus. I know that students are being run through the college "machine" and these tests are no more a true indicator of their ability to learn than they are a valid tool for evaluating teachers. It is a crock. Since the review was done AFTER the initial test, of course the original scores should have been honored, but that would not serve the cause of the fools that think this test was valid to start with. Because of my familiarity with the testing process, I would dare say that while this was a hard test, most students at this level of class, (especially those applying to Duke and Princeton) would have actually learned much of the material and not just regurgitated the facts. Yes, some students will get messed over on this. I would argue that students have been suffering ever since this ridiculous testing concept was created.

  • beline81 Feb 9, 2011

    p.s WildWilliam: My son has nothing to study FROM. He recycles his notebook after each semester, so since that was his last history class, he cleaned his notebook out. Everything is sitting in the county dumpster, like most of the other kids' stuff who completed the and were finished with history requirements until college...or he WOULD be studying. Textbooks haven't even been reissued yet. They have ONE WEEKEND to study, then the retest. A few of our wrestlers are looking at academic and athletic scholarships from Duke and Princeton, so yes, having to retest and being at such a disadvantage wherein it will affect their grades DOES matter....

  • beline81 Feb 9, 2011

    2 hour study review session, books reissued Friday, test Tues I believe ...p.s Meeting at CHS 6-8 p.m. tonight - parents, students, news reporters welcomed! :-) And let's be sensitive here: Imagine if that were YOUR CHILD......and we're talking about HISTORY here....not plagiarizing ideas from another scholar...this is history. Facts. Numbers. Dates. Enough said.

  • beline81 Feb 9, 2011

    And yes, from the first week of their class, they were told they had a tremendously difficult EOC exam awaiting them, and they were being taught to the test. Administration knows it, and so does everyone else. A horrible way to teach, no doubt-who learns like that? The fact is: CHS athletes are being given a bad rap, when they were REQUIRED to attend review sessions AFTER they passed the test in order to go to practice. Other students participating in extra-curriculars (band, etc.) shared the same fate due to attendance policy/extracurricular participation rules. Our children have read comments and are outraged at the discrimination towards athletes. Just because Zimmerman was a wrestling coach does NOT mean he afforded his wrestlers special treatment: If anything, he was HARDER on them than regular students. He TOLD the students they better not THINK of trying to cheat. Do we really know the story? Has anyone thought that maybe the teachers who resigned may be hiring lawyers?

  • beline81 Feb 9, 2011

    Many kids barely passed this test, now their graduation is depending on it. This was, by student accounts, the most difficult test they've EVER taken. This is not some "pop quiz." This test is 25% of the course grade!! Mr. Zimmerman told my son's class that there was no way they could cheat: Well over 14 versions of tests were given, with different color codes, etc. You're talking about kids who have already applied to colleges, and are now looking at having LOWER test scores, possibly not passing the course (not my child, but others. Students have moved on to different classes now & still have to complete that work. These students and parents have a RIGHT to be outraged! They've moved on to other courses. How much time do you think they have to re-study (with no materials) for the hardest test they've ever taken and still complete their other work? All because POSSIBLY 2% of the students MAY have been exposed to non-specific answers? Discrimination. Lawsuit? Yea, I said it!

  • sara23 Feb 9, 2011

    so they are being punished for actually teaching? what a joke. i can honestly say as a clayton hs has gone down hill after jerry left.

  • justiceforall Feb 9, 2011

    WRAL? Follow-up? Hello?

  • Plenty Coups Feb 9, 2011

    "Students who receive "read aloud" modifications are sent to the Special Programs department. Those teachers would not be involved in the review process for students who need to retake the test to avoid the possiblity of using test specific information during the review."

    In a perfect world you would be right. Due to shortages in special ed teachers and parent volunteers, and the fact that hundreds of tests have to verified, have answers bubbled in etc., I can assure you that that is often times not the case in reality.

    "If the teachers did use a question directly off of the test, then they did violate the regulations and have caused a misadministration."

    Right, though it shouldn't cost these otherwise excellent teachers their jobs in my opinion. If it wasn't for the burdensome and unnecessary requirements for remediation and retesting, this wouldn't have happened. Even DPI (Lou Fabrizio) reported today that the last time something happened (2 years ago)- a teacher was found to be