Area Schools Cleared of Cheating Charges

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Area schools are among hundreds of Texas schools breathing a little easier after an investigation has cleared them of allegations of cheating on a standardized test. The Texas Education Agency announced Thursday that 592 schools have been cleared by a security company and their cases have been closed. One hundred and five schools are still awaiting a final word on their investigations.

The red flags were initially raised when scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test taken during the 2004-2005 school year jumped dramatically from the previous year. An independent investigation of seven hundred schools caused many districts, like College Station, some confusion.

"We were puzzled because all three schools (Cypress Grove Intermediate; A&M Consolidated Middle School, A&M Consolidated High School) were flagged for the same reason which was what Caveon test security folks called unusual gains scores, meaning our students made large gains in their student performance," said Clark Ealy, CSISD Executive Director of Accountability and Planning.

The testing firm needed further evaluation of their scores and all Texas scores at large because four factors were present. Those factors were: erasures, unusual patterns, similar answers, and gain score.

"As few as five percent of our students at a grade level or in a classroom could have these unusual gains and that would have flagged us for that list," Ealy said.

Among those waiting for those findings are three area schools: The Brazos School of Inquiry and Creativity, Hearne High School, and Navasota High School. All three CSISD schools were cleared along with Bremond High School, Centerville Junior and Senior High School, Huntsville High School, and Magnolia High School.