Teachers put on leave after allegations they gave out copies of standardized test
WOODLAND, Calif. – Eight teachers at Woodland High School near Sacramento are under investigation for allegedly sharing a standardized state science test with students preparing to take the exam.
The Woodland Joint Unified School District announced Wednesday that the teachers are on paid administrative leave while the charges are investigated.
”As a district we are shocked, appalled and tremendously disappointed in the unethical conduct of a few employees,” said Linda Weesner, superintendent of the Woodland district.
Pressure on teachers to produce higher test scores may have prompted the cheating, according to Wayne Johnson, president of the California Teachers Union.
”I can tell you from visiting schools around the state that there is tremendous pressure on teachers to get these scores up,” Johnson said.
The Stanford 9 achievement tests are being administered this week throughout the state and at the 2,000-student Woodland campus. Nearly all of the state’s second- through 11th-graders must take the exam this spring.
Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature have established a system that ranks schools based on performances on the Stanford 9 test. In January, the first rankings put Woodland High in the bottom half of the state’s schools.
Schools with low scores face possible state sanctions. Schools that excel can get extra money.
Administrators said they received a tip Monday that the science teachers illegally copied portions of the achievement test and used them to prepare their students for the exam.
The district did not release the names of the teachers. Some of them may be fired, said Weesner.
Weesner said the scores of some 10th-graders on the science portion of the exam will be disregarded, because they may have used portions of the test to prepare.
Standard security procedure calls for test booklets to be counted and signed out only to teachers who sign affidavits promising not to copy or divulge their contents. All tests must be stored in locked cabinets.
Weesner said she believes the teachers copied an exam they received before the district’s exams had been delivered.