The scores of four Hardin County Schools students will be invalidated after the Kentucky Department of Education said it believes several testing violations occurred within the school district during the 2017-18 year while it was administering the annual Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress tests.
In six letters sent to Superintendent Teresa Morgan in May, Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis also recommended numerous staff members take training. All of the allegations were self-reported, Morgan said.
Not all testing violations resulted in invalid test scores because the integrity of the test scores were not compromised, Lewis wrote. The News-Enterprise obtained the letters through an open records request to the Department of Education.
The violations occurred at the elementary and middle school levels and ranged from a student texting his mother during a restroom break to a teacher helping a student on a portion of the test. The testing violations at each school are as follows:
EAST HARDIN MIDDLE SCHOOL. In a May 16 letter, Lewis said he believed a testing violation occurred after a student reported to his parent a teacher showed him a test section on the K-PREP test he had not answered. He also was told he would miss a portion of the school’s upcoming field day as related to the implemented “Good Faith Effort Checklist,” which serves as a motivator for some students.
Morgan said the checklist is used for some students throughout the year and cannot be used just for testing.
In the letter, Lewis said pointing out missing answers is against state regulations along with making individual results from checklists available to students before the entire test has been submitted to an assessment coordinator.
Lewis said the student’s scores will not be invalidated because the integrity of the test scores were not compromised.
The teacher at the time, Dustin Winchester, was recommended to take at least three hours of training. He was with the school district during the 2018-19 year, according to the school’s website.
In a separate May 16 letter, Lewis said he believed a testing violation occurred after a sixth-grade student at the time allegedly used his cellphone to text his mother while on a restroom break.
“Accessing the internet, wireless communication functions or imaging capabilities on electronic devices during testing sessions for purposes other than test administration is prohibited,” Lewis said, citing state regulations.
Lewis said the test scores of the student would not be invalidated.
WEST HARDIN MIDDLE SCHOOL. In a May 16 letter, Lewis said he believed a violation occurred after a then seventh-grade student was said to have transported K-PREP materials from one location to another without supervision.
“A student shall not be allowed to take a test booklet or answer booklet out of the testing area without supervision,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the test scores of the student would not be invalidated, but the teacher at the time, Kelsey Birdwhistell, was recommended to take three hours of training. She was with the school district during the 2018-19 school year, according to the school’s website.
HEARTLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. In a May 20 letter, Lewis said he believed a violation occurred after an instructional assistant provided a then fifth-grade student with an “inappropriate” accommodation during the K-PREP On-Demand writing section, but did not specify what that accommodation was.
Lewis said the on-demand writing section would be invalidated for that student and recommended the instructional assistant at the time, Deanna Pelston, take three hours of training.
MEADOW VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. In a May 20 letter, Lewis said he believed a testing violation occurred when a teacher was said to help a then fifth-grade student with responding to an item on the K-PREP math portion.
Lewis said the math scores for the student would be invalidated and recommended the teacher, Lisa Stubbs, take three hours of training. Stubbs still was with the school district in the 2018-19 school year, according to the school’s website.
In a May 23 letter, Lewis said he believed a testing violation occurred when two fourth-grade students at the time completed the Math B portion of the K-PREP test during the time alloted for the Math A portion. The students also had access to their calculators while working on Math B, which is a non-calculator portion.
Lewis said students are not allowed to work ahead on test portions and the K-PREP math scores for the two students would be invalidated.
Morgan said the district takes testing infractions very seriously and tries to be proactive.
“We know our schools are taking the testing seriously,” she said. “We don’t have a situation of where a parent or a child has said, ‘Something has gone wrong.’ These are people who say, ‘Hey, you know what, this happened. This mistake was made.’ So, I feel we are being very honest in our self-reporting that we are doing there.”
The goal is to have zero violations, Morgan said.
“However, when you’re testing approximately six to seven thousand students ... there are going to be infractions,” she said.