SACS Teacher Investigated In ISTEP Security Breach

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

March 18, 2011 Updated Jun 8, 2011 at 6:02 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - A local teacher could lose her job because of a security breach that is causing some ISTEP+ test scores to be thrown out.

A Southwest Allen County middle school teacher was suspended over a violation of ISTEP+ testing protocol.

No decision has yet been made regarding the unnamed teacher’s future job status.

But the issue caused 120 7th graders at Summit Middle School to have part of their March 2011 ISTEP test scores invalidated.

A female teacher at Summit, responsible for preparing students to take a social studies portion of the exam, is the subject of an internal investigation.

Results from the social studies portion won’t count for the 120 students, over allegations that they may have been wrongly coached about what to expect on the test.

SACS Superintendent Dr. Steven Yager says the teacher continued to review relevant information and material with students during the ISTEP testing window one week prior to administration of the exam, something he says is strictly prohibited, and is clearly communicated to teachers on staff.

Letters were sent home to parents of the impacted children, emphasizing that the students did nothing wrong, and that the results from their math and language arts sections will not be affected by the potential problem.

In applauding the school system's decision to suspend the teacher, State Superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett said in a letter to SACS officials, “While the educator may believe she was helping the students, her actions only hurt them. Cheating has no place in the classroom and that is no different for the ISTEP exam.”

Steve Yager, ed.D./SACS Superintendent: " It is so important to maintain the integrity of the test and the confidentiality of the test, and we expect students to be honest and not to cheat, and to behave appropriately during tests, and we expect the same of our employees."

The affected students will not re-take the social studies portion of the exam.

Instead, they will be scored strictly on how they did on the math and language arts sections.

Dr. Yager says the school system itself does not face any penalties from the incident.

It's possible the teacher in question could be exonerated and restored to the classroom, dismissed, or faces some other type of disciplinary action.

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