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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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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