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ACSA board hears parent’s complaint about test cheating

Members of the board of the Algiers Charter Schools Association on Thursday night heard from an L.B. Landry High School parent with concerns about instances of standardized test irregularities at Edna Karr, Dwight Eisenhower and O. Perry Walker high schools over the past three years.

“How do you expect the community to take the academic report seriously when there’s reports that the school has been cheating on these tests,” asked Benita Scott, the parent of rising junior at L.B. Landry, during the meeting at the Martin Berhman Charter School.

“Why is it happening over and over again over a three-year period? Are you telling me all these schools know how to take tests and Karr and Walker don’t?” asked Scott, who said she is a certified testing proctor.

The comments came while the ACSA board was discussing end-of-course testing, which is not the same as the standardized tests discussed in the article in The Lens.

ACSA CEO Adrian Morgan pointed out that infractions can mean things as trivial as providing a student with a protractor before the appropriate time, and that there were no specific examples of cheating outlined in the article for O. Perry Walker.

But a teacher giving a student an advance peek at the test would also be considered an infraction, according to documentation provided by the Louisiana Department of Education. Contrary to Morgan’s claim, 10 tests at Walker were voided in 2010 for students having extremely similar written answers. That could indicate that students looked each other’s papers, or that the teacher administering the test helped those students with the writing portion in question. The Lens outlined the Walker incident and 50 others in a spreadsheet accompanying the story.

When The Lens asked Morgan for more information about that incident at Walker, another in which state officials cited the school for minor infractions during a test site visit, and other incidents at Martin Behrman Charter Academy for Creative Arts and Sciences and Dwight Eisenhower Charter School, he declined to comment.

Board president Collin Brooks gave the first word ACSA is doing to combat test security violations at the meeting.

“Every step is being taken to make sure our scores are being recorded fairly,” Brooks said.

The board also voted to add Darleen Nicole Sheppard to the board, replacing Missy Duhon, whose term had expired. Sheppard is an attorney and an Algiers resident.

Chief Financial Officer Charlie Mackles announced that the board will hold a public hearing to discuss the budget on July 31 at Eisenhower. The budget is currently available at the central office and was published in the Times-Picayune on July 19.

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