State documents detail standardized test cheating, irregularities at New Orleans schools

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 In three recent years, 33 New Orleans public schools have been flagged for problems and possible cheating on standardized tests, including an excessive number of changed answers, plagiarism and improper test proctoring, according to records provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

There were 51 separate instances of irregularities or infractions at those schools in 2010, 2011 and 2012, causing 130 tests to be voided.

The Lens counted 15 incidents that would be considered major infractions under state guidelines:

*4 incidents, involving 38 tests, of suspiciously high rates of changed answers 

*11 times in which teachers administered tests improperly

Standardized tests are the primary factor for a school’s state-assigned school performance score. Traditional schools that continually score low could be taken over by the state; low-scoring charter schools could be shut down.

A lot rides on these tests for teachers, too. Their jobs could be at stake if their students don’t improve. Teachers in the Capital One New Beginnings Charter School Network received bonuses — one got $43,000 — if their students’ scores rose in 2012. Read more here.