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Bay Point Elementary cleared in cheating investigation

Cara Fitzpatrick, Times Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:47pm

District officials concluded that no cheating took place at Bay Point Elementary last school year. State officials accepted the results of the district-run investigation and gave the school a C grade for 2014.

Superintendent Mike Grego told the state that "no wrongdoing or testing irregularities were discovered." In a letter sent to parents today, principal Felita Grant announced the C grade and said that the state "fully endorses all components of our testing protocols." The letter made no other mention of the investigation, focusing instead on plans for the new school year.

The state Department of Education flagged the magnet school after a large number of fourth-grade students turned in math tests that were so similar as to be statistically improbable. On multiple-choice tests, it's not unusual for students to give the same answer if it's the correct answer. But about 30 students were giving the same wrong answers on the same questions, according to the state.

A state analysis concluded the likelihood that students produced such similar tests under normal conditions was less than 1 in 1 trillion.

District officials interviewed students and staff about the unusual results.

In his letter to the state, Grego said that students with similar answers were spread across seven testing groups and had five classroom teachers. The students also weren't seated near each other, he wrote. A dozen students were interviewed. Students said that teachers taught them basic test-taking strategies; they reported no disruptions during their tests.

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