Investigation ongoing into Barnwell 'test irregularities'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 31, 2013

BARNWELL, S.C. (WRDW) -- An investigation into possible test security violations at Barnwell Elementary is being turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division from the South Carolina Department of Education.

Stacey Wilson, a sixth grade teacher at Barnwell Elementary, is said to have violated the following:

  • Failing to maintain an appropriate testing environment, free from undue distractions
  • Failing to proctor the test to ensure that examinees are engaged in appropriate test-taking activities
  • Failing to follow all directions pertaining to the administration of a test as specified in the test manuals for that test

A letter from the South Carolina Department of Education says the violations are a "breach of professional ethics" which may "jeopardize the validity of the inferences made on the basis of test data."

"You know, the district's going to go straight down the line, and if we had allegations that there were some test irregularities, you know, we're going to follow it up all the way," said outgoing Barnwell District 45 Superintendent Roy Sapough.

Sapough says the teacher has been put on administrative leave, and there's still no word of whether or not she'll be back next school year.

The SCDE letter, sent to District Test Coordinator Kim Rhoad, advises her to write a letter to Wilson explaining the seriousness of the violations and to have Wilson write a letter to the S.C. Department of Education explaining how she will maintain an appropriate testing environment.

Fritz Mason with the Department of Education says there will not be any retesting.

Ultimately, Sapough says it wasn't a case of cheating and that the incident is nothing like what happened in Atlanta, where dozens of teachers allegedly conspired to boost test scores.

"There's no cheating scandal. There is a teacher that was alleged -- and I'm not sure if they did, but it's alleged -- that they did some things inappropriate during testing," Sapough said.

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