Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
A group of third-graders at Kemp Elementary School were given more time than allowed, to complete part of a state-mandated test used to determine the school's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status, a Georgia Department of Education official has confirmed.
A spokesman from the Georgia Department of Education released details, Thursday, that explain why Kemp is the subject of an investigation into how the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) was administered at the school last month.
Clayton County Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley confirmed the investigation was taking place earlier this week, but has been tight-lipped about why it is taking place.
Georgia Department of Education Spokesman Justin Pauly has confirmed, however, that there was a time issue involved with the third-grade mathematics section of the test, which has resulted in five students seeing their scores from that test section erased.
"Kemp Elementary does have irregularities in math," Pauly wrote in an e-mailed statement. "Five, third-grade students did not finish the math CRCT, and were given extra time. The five students' scores were invalidated, and they will receive no scores for math, due to the additional time."
The integrity of the administration of the CRCT is a sensitive topic in Georgia, in light of an Atlanta Public Schools scandal, involving allegations of widespread cheating on the test in that district, as well as smaller, similar issues in other districts across the state.
The allegations of cheating led to a Governor's Office of Student Achievement investigation in 2009, in which answer sheets from each school in the state were reviewed for erasure marks. Kemp Elementary School was not one of the schools that the Governor's Office of Student Achievement identified as being of "severe concern," at the end of that investigation in early 2010.
"If there was cheating done, we will deal with it swiftly, and appropriately," Heatley said, on Wednesday.
During the test, students are given a set amount of time to finish each section of the test. The state's CRCT Test Examiner's Manual shows students are given up to 140 minutes to complete the mathematics section of the test, which is broken into two 70-minute parts.
"The time allotted for administration of the CRCTs ... should be sufficient for students to complete each test section," the Test Examiner's Manual states.
"Unless specified in an IEP [Individualized Education Program], IAP [Individual Accommodation Plan], ELL/TPC [English Language Learner Student Testing Participation Committee] Plan, students should have a minimum of 45 minutes, and a maximum of 70 minutes, to complete each section," the manual says.
Heatley said, on Wednesday, that Kemp Elementary School Principal Janice Sills was still on the job, and working.
Clayton County Public Schools Spokesman Charles White said, on Thursday, that there was no update available on the district's investigation.