Cheating on State Tests Found at Two Los Angeles Schools

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The state has thrown out the test scores of a top-performing Los Angeles school and of the highest-scoring campus in the nationally known Green Dot charter group after cheating was uncovered involving several teachers.

Short Avenue Elementary in Del Rey and Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood were barred from receiving academic rankings released last week by the California Department of Education. That action deprived the schools of the state rating that has become the key figure used by parents and officials to judge campuses in California.

At Short, three teachers are accused of changing answers or coaching students to the correct answers or both. At Animo Leadership, a science teacher is accused of fixing wrong answers.

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy characterized the Short Avenue teachers' actions as gross misconduct.

"Students take tests independent and alone," Deasy said. "We don't coach them and give them answers." He added, "It's obviously wrong behavior, but it's more than that.... It's not the behavior we want to model ? ever."

When the improprieties came to light, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Green Dot conducted internal investigations and notified the state Education Department. As a result, each school was struck from this year's Academic Performance Index, the rating used to measure the progress of schools in California.

Cheating scandals have received increasing attention nationwide. In the Atlanta school system, 82 educators have admitted cheating, with misconduct documented at 44 of 100 schools. In Washington, D.C., concerns have risen about cheating in response to the high-stakes improvement mandates of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

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