Mississippi to investigate alleged cheating at elementary school
- Allegations of testing irregularities at Mississippi's Heidelberg Elementary School surfaced Wednesday, and the state's Department of Education is launching an investigation.
- Fourth-grade test data given to The Clarion-Ledger shows that many students with advanced scores on state exams last May were barely able to read or do basic math when they entered fifth grade at another district school, Oakhurst Intermediate, the following year.
- Dennis Dupree, superintendent of the Clarksdale Municipal School District, is also launching an investigation into who leaked the test data to the newspaper, allegedly threatening Oakhurst teachers with termination and lawsuits if they were a source.
So not only do we have cheating accusations, but there's an allegedly vengeful superintendent in the mix as well? Attendees of a Wednesday meating at Oakhurst quoted Dupree as saying, "Whoever leaked this data, I am going to find you. Until my last day on this job, I will not stop until I find you," and, "Suit up, because I'm coming for you."
The paper also reports that Oakhurst students who formerly attended Heidelberg reported irregularities in protocol. Ultimately, this is yet another unfortunate example of the dark side of high-stakes testing, as the pressure often leads some schools to doctor exams in an attempt to boost scores — a major point of concern for many critics of the practice.
- The Clarion-Ledger Education Department vows Clarksdale cheating probe
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter