City school officials said the move was not prompted by suspicions of cheating on the assessments--which students have to pass in order to graduate--but to be proactive in its quest to ramp up its testing integrity campaign.
“The natural extension is ensuring that we were being fair and consistent in our process," said Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, the system's chief accountability officer. "The city-wide test monitoring of the Maryland School Assessments [MSA] was instigated by something. From our perspective, we don’t ever want to be in that situation again, where we could have done something ahead of time.”
“We've been looking so intently and so intensely at elementary and middle schools, and the HSA is a graduation requirement, so we wanted to make sure there was as much integrity around that as well."
In 2011, city schools CEO Andres Alonso began spending nearly $400,000 to hire and place 200 independent monitors in all elementary and middle schools that administered the MSA to students in grades three through eight.