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One teacher quits, 5 suspended in Indy district

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An Indianapolis school district said Friday it suspended five teachers and another resigned amid an investigation into cheating on a state standardized biology exam at one of Indiana's largest high schools.

The Washington Township schools suspended one teacher at North Central High School for 15 days without pay, one for 10 days and three others for four days, the district said in a news release. A sixth teacher resigned.

The district said one teacher took notes on the exam and shared those notes with others. The district said it has submitted a final report on its investigation into the disclosures of questions on the state biology exam in 2009 and 2010 to Wes Bruce, the Indiana Department of Education's chief assessment officer.

The department continues to investigate the matter and has not determined yet whether to throw out affected students' test scores, spokesman Adam Baker said.

The department each year investigates "a handful" of allegations of similar disclosures on state standardized tests, Baker said.

"This is one of the most serious ones that we've seen," Baker said.

Washington Township said that in 2009 and 2010, a teacher took extensive handwritten notes on questions by looking over the shoulder of students while they took the test online. Students in subsequent years said the teacher quizzed them verbally on the material "and then students saw the same questions on the test," the district's news release said.

That teacher shared her notes with four other teachers who told investigators they did not use it in the classroom, but one shared the material with his spouse, an administrator in another district. Another North Central teacher who was an administrator at the time received reports of the breach but did not act on the information. The four who received the notes and the teacher-administrator were disciplined for not reporting the security breach to their department chair as they should have, the district said.

The teachers who received the notes have been ordered to turn them over to the school's principal to be destroyed, the district said.

"North Central High School is taking significant steps under district direction to review and tighten training and testing protocols," the district said.

Bruce, the Department of Education assessment officer, said last month that teachers are trained in testing procedures and should know that copying and sharing test questions isn't allowed.

Other states release their state tests publicly each year and don't reuse questions, but Indiana keeps most of the test confidential and it's common for questions to be repeated.

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  1. We gotta stop this Senior crime. Perhaps long jail terms for these old boozers is in order. There are times these days (more rather than less) when this state makes me sick.

  2. One option is to redistribute the payroll tax already collected by the State. A greater share could be allocated to the county of the workplace location as opposed to the county of residency. Not a new tax, just re-allocate what is currently collected.

  3. Have to agree with Mal Burgess. The biggest problem is massive family breakdown in these neighborhoods. While there are a lot of similiarities, there is a MASSIVE difference between 46218 and 46219. 46219 is diluted by some stable areas, and that's probably where the officers live. Incentivizing is fine, but don't criticize officers for choosing not to live in these neighbor hoods. They have to have a break from what is arguably one of the highest stress job in the land. And you'll have to give me hard evidence that putting officers there is going to make a significant difference. Solid family units, responsible fathers, siblings with the same fathers, engaged parents, commitment to education, respect for the rule of law and the importance of work/a job. If the families and the schools (and society) will support these, THEN we can make a difference.

  4. @Agreed, when you dine in Marion County, the taxes paid on that meal go to state coffers (in the form of the normal sales taxes) and to the sports/entertainment venues operated by the CIB. The sales taxes on your clothing and supplies just go to the state. The ONLY way those purchases help out Indianapolis is through the payroll taxes paid by the (generally low-wage) hourly workers serving you.

  5. The government leaders of Carmel wouldn't last a week trying to manage Indianapolis. There's a major difference between running a suburb with virtually no one below the poverty level and running a city in which 21+% are below the poverty level. (http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/data/interactive/#view=StateAndCounty&utilBtn=&yLB=0&stLB=15&cLB=49&dLB=0&gLB=0&usSts_cbSelected=false&usTot_cbSelected=true&stateTot_cbSelected=true&pLB=0?ltiYearSelected=false?ltiYearAlertFlag=false?StateFlag=false?validSDYearsFlag=false)

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