End of Course violations shed light on testing procedures

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End of Course violations shed light on testing procedures

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On Wednesday, April 13th at 4:15 p.m., Dr. Danny Brackett was in a meeting in Mr. Harris’ office when he was informed that two students who were taking part in the Geometry End of Course exams used cellphones to capture images containing testing materials and then posted them on Instagram.

Both of the images taken included the cover of the closed test booklet in the background and a more predominate emphasis elsewhere in the image.  Added filters were used when editing the images to upload to Instagram, which distorted the original photo.

“It was just a fun picture with friends, not even of the EOC”, said Student One.

According to Dr. Brackett, students are not identified by name in the official report being submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education.

Phones were taken in order to search for additional images of the test or anything regarding the Geometry EOC. Also, parents were notified.

The two students received consequences for the security violations. According to Student One, she received a warning. According to Student Two, she received 5 days of detention.

“I had five days of detention on hold for something irrelevant [a previous, unrelated cell phone violation], and then I got five more days for this,” said Student Two.

Other students who took the EOCs were concerned about having to retake the test. According to Assistant Principal Michael Shepherd, that concern was merely a rumor.

“If there had been pictures of test questions, that would be a major violation, but that didn’t happen.  Basically it was students pulling out phones when they shouldn’t,” said Dr. Shepherd.

“This should be a warning for everyone else, and a lesson learned because next time they’ll be stricter,” said Student Two.

In order to maintain the security of the test, proctors are informed of the testing expectations and are expected to review that with students during the test period.

“This obviously happened behind my back if any student had one. That was against the rules, and we have a strict policy, and I adhered to that,” said Proctor Two.  “I don’t feel like I could have done anything different.  I was attentive and I can’t pat people down or check pockets.  I can’t control everyone.”

Proctors allowing cell phones during the test was in question. However, allegations that one of the two test proctors “signed off,” stating that he or she permitted students to use cellphones during any part of the exam are simply false.

“We did a full investigation, and we have no evidence that any teacher gave permission to have phones at any point during the test,” said Dr. Shepherd.

Under those circumstances, a test proctor’s teaching license could be in jeopardy.

“Losing their teaching licenses would be a consequence at the worst.  With our report, the most severe consequence is embarrassment, disappointment, or aggravation,” said Dr. Brackett.

Due to the security violations that occurred during the Geometry EOC, extra care was taken for the Biology EOC.

“Biology proctors had to be retrained, the administration did closer monitoring, and there was an over all heightened sense of  focus and importance,” said Dr. Brackett.

During the Biology EOC, a student was caught with a cellphone out as tests were being taken up.  Even though Biology EOC was over, the testing session had not ended and the test prompter was required to take up phone.

According to Dr. Brackett, regardless of what specifically took place, the issues do not seem to lie in the actions of these specific students, but in an attitude and perspective taken on by a certain percentage of students.

“Some students are becoming more apathetic, less mature, and take less pride in their work and work less at performing at a higher level.  When someone doesn’t understand they tend not to care”, said Dr. Brackett. “My responsibility as principal is to heighten the senses of focus and importance.

Additionally, students are under the impression that tests such as EOCs only go reflect the school. However recent amendments to test guidelines say otherwise.

“Students who are not at least proficient are remediated, so there are consequences now,” said Dr. Brackett. “The state, however, is looking to revamp everything because of Common Core.  Everyone is accountable for test scores.”

There is also speculation among the administration on whether or not the incentives for scoring proficient or above have become irrelevant to those testing.

“Incentives have run their course. We will attempt to appeal to maturity and will try to keep them informed of consequences,” said Dr. Brackett. “We are going to try to deal with this in the most positive way possible.”

Over the course of the investigation, all information regarding the test violations have been turned in as a report, which will then be handed over to the Arkansas Board of Education at their request.

“I’m responsible. I’m the principal. I’m responsible for any rules put down by the Arkansas Board of Education,” said Dr. Brackett. “Each student is responsible and some of them have been misinformed, and that is my fault.”

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