CCPS did right thing in testing case

Published 11:06 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Clark County Public Schools officials acted appropriately in the case of a teacher who attempted to cheat on statewide standardized testing.

The information regarding the actions of former fourth-grade teacher Audrey Deaton, who allegedly took a testing pamphlet from a locked closet at strode station elementary school during the 2015-16 testing season, came to light earlier this year when Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt submitted a letter to Superintendent Paul Christy.

As a result of the violation, the 25 students in Deaton’s class at the time had their accountability scores lowered to 0. Deaton’s actions were caught on surveillance cameras in the school and confirmed by information found in the students’ classroom work journals.

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The task of preparing students for statewide testing can understandably put pressure on teachers, but that doesn’t excuse cheating.

The repercussions of Deaton’s actions extend beyond herself. She was terminated, but the school’s, and the thus the district’s, accountability scores and ratings were affected by the classroom full of zero scores. In fact, the district missed being named a district of distinction by a tenth of a point.

Thankfully, the lowered scores didn’t reduce funding for the school or the district.

In situations such as Deaton’s, the bright spot is that the district did its due diligence in investigating, reporting and responding to the incident. And, in the wake of the incident, CCPS had doubled down on efforts to keep testing materials secure.

More notably, Strode Station still earned a school of distinction rating and the district was rated as proficient, proving that even in the midst of such an issue, the district otherwise does an excellent job preparing students for statewide testing. Which further drives home the point that cheating isn’t necessary and is never OK.

We commend the district for its approach to this matter and for all the hard work from the many teachers who prepare students for these exams. May this hard work and dedication of many not be overshadowed by the actions of one.