JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A “highly improbable” number of similar answers or excessive erasures have state education officials suspecting cheating on nearly 7,000 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests.
The Department of Education on Friday confirmed that Duval County is among 14 of Florida’s 67 county school districts asked to investigate after a security company contracted by the state found “identified statistical inconsistencies” on 6,697 of the 4 million FCAT exams taken this year.
The statistical analysis identified tests that showed answers changed from wrong to right, as a ratio to overall erasures. The state believes this may indicate tampering with test answer documents.
Those exams were invalidated, but school districts have 15 days to appeal.
The high number of erasures were indicated at individual schools in each county, but Duval County declined to identify which school.
The state said the effected schools will initially be assigned an incomplete for its 2010-11 school grade and other accountability rankings.
Duval County’s director of testing, Tom Scott, was looking into the matter and will not comment until the investigation is complete.
FCAT reading, math, science and writing scores are used to grade schools. Students must pass the 10th-grade FCAT to graduate and the third-grade reading test to be promoted.
The story has become a national one now as Education Week has just reported in the sandal.