WRAL Investigates

NC schools report 58 testing problems since 2007

Posted March 2, 2011

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— When two teachers resigned from Clayton High School in February for giving students review sheets for their end-of-course history test, it reminded Kevin and Barb Kocher of the questions they had at their son's school last year.

“He specifically said on the math test that the answers were pointed to,” Kevin Kocher said.

The couple’s son, Paul Kocher, has Down Syndrome and tested at grade level in seventh grade math – the first time that ever happened – even though the teacher said he hadn't mastered some basic skills, such as making change.

The principal investigated and said there was no wrongdoing. However, other cases have had much different outcomes. North Carolina school systems have investigated 58 cases since 2007.

Most were minor problems with how instructions were given, but there were 10 more serious cases where teachers provided significant help, such as pointing to an answer or patting a student on the back if they were right.

Many of those cases ended with a teacher suspended, either with or without pay.

In 2005, at Sallie B. Howard Charter School in Wilson, a test coordinator admitted to changing answers for students. In 2008, a principal was reassigned from Knightdale Elementary School after testing irregularities.

The numbers show that problems are rare, but the numbers also show that complaints are often reported from within schools.

Education Generic 2 NC schools report testing problems

Lou Fabrizio, the chief testing director for the state Department of Public Instruction, said the majority of the cases are reported by school administrators, however “there have been cases where because of students, we found out something improper happened.”

Many parents, like the Kochers, don't realize they can report problems directly to the state Department of Public Instruction, as well as their child’s school.

“We’ve had fantastic teachers and principals. This has been the only issue that has ever raised concerns with us,” said Kevin Kocher.

The Kocher's said their son gets more time on his test and has fewer multiple choice answers to choose from, but he's still tested on the same material.

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  • kotasmom Mar 3, 2011

    Killian, I know the test are secure but I know what my children are doing in school. I'm involved 100% in everyway. I'm not one of those moms that just send their children to school and thats it. I know everything that goes on. I am always in communication with their teachers as well as the principal and assistant principal. So like I told the other "know it all"......

  • Killian Mar 3, 2011

    Kotasmom -- you know from experience? Hmm. Since those tests are secure, how exactly have you seen them? The concepts are the same, but the number of questions and the number of potential answers are not the only difference.

    In the assessments for students with disabilities, the vocabulary tested and the language used to write the items are both simplified as well. Otherwise, we could just duplicate the EOG but remove one of the wrong answers and leave some questions off, and call it done. That is NOT the way we work.

    Read the last sentence of your last post...and try it yourself.

  • kotasmom Mar 3, 2011

    joewalsh all I can say to you is your just as ignorant as all the other people that don't have special needs children. People like you go around and act like they have all the answers about something you know nothing about. I know from personal experience that special needs children take the EOG on the exact same material as non-special needs children do. The only difference is there aren't as many questions and there aren't as many choices to choose from in the multiple choice.
    Whoever said IGNORANCE IS BLISS must have been thinking about you. You must be the most blistfully happy man on God's green earth. If you don't know about the subject personally, then I highly advise you to keep your mouth shut.

  • kotasmom Mar 3, 2011

    joewalsh all I can say to you is you are just as ignorant as all the other people in the world that don't have special needs children. If you don't know anything about the subject best thing for you to do is keep your ignorant mouth shut. I've always said you can't fix stupid as you are living proof of that.
    Special needs children think on a different level then "normal" children do, so they need more time on test. Both my son and daughter are both special needs children and they are at the grade level where they would be taking the EOGs. I know from personal experience that they get more time as well as the choices they have to choose from. Forest Gump had it right when he said, "STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!!!" Mr. Walsh, Ii highly advise you to get all your facts straight before you go and make an fool of yourself.

  • Killian Mar 3, 2011

    Eduardo1 -- I work in the testing field for NC. Any time you'd like to learn to undo the caps lock and provide counter evidence to the statistics we have, please feel free to do so. We'd welcome your input, especially in hearing how you came to your conclusions.

    And as for the bridge you'd like to "DELL" me? I don't know...my last laptop was an HP and it worked quite nicely.

  • bowhunterjunkie Mar 3, 2011

    joewalsh said--Hmmm so the test is easier but the same material. Sounds like we are dumbing down the test for special needs so that they can pass. All kids should be given the same test it is called fair. How fair is it that a lower performing student gets a easier test?

    There is a test called the Extend 2. It is an "easier" version of the EOG. Same material just shorter test and tested at a different time than the EOG. The only ones who qualify are the ones in special needs classes and have NO chance of passing the EOG. Yes it is needed for those students. Just another uninformed person who has no idea what they are talking about!!

  • sweetpea102 Mar 3, 2011

    to JoeWalsh,You should think again. The tests are not dumber as you say, but the same. Our EXCEPTIONAL children get a little longer to finish the test and sometimes not as many questions to answer, but that’s it. Ever heard of inclusion? Testing falls under the 504 plan. Look it up, this is what No Child Left Behind stands for.

    Signed,
    BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

  • whatelseisnew Mar 2, 2011

    "Most were minor problems with how instructions were given, but there were 10 more serious cases where teachers provided significant help, such as pointing to an answer or patting a student on the back if they were right.

    Many of those cases ended with a teacher suspended, either with or without pay."

    Suspended????? They should be fired for doing this EVEN with ONE Student for ONE question.

  • Eduardo1 Mar 2, 2011

    iF YOU BELIEVE THE LOW NUMBERS, THAN I HAVE A BRIDGE IN BROOKLYN TO DELL YOU REAL CHEAP!!!
    WISEOWL....IT PROBABLY IS A STORY, IF THE TRUTH BE KNOWN!

  • wiseowl Mar 2, 2011

    So...58 problems in 3.5 years at thousands of schools? I'd be surprised if any state agency did better. Non-story.

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