NJ test score cheating probe clears 14 schools

In a clever "move," Christopher Cerf, acting education chief in N.J., almost maneuvered a confirmation hearing.
In a clever "move," Christopher Cerf, acting education chief in N.J., almost maneuvered a confirmation hearing. (MEL EVANS / Associated Press)
Posted: March 10, 2012

TRENTON, N.J. - State education officials say 14 more public schools across New Jersey have been cleared in an investigation of possible cheating on state tests.

But further investigations have been ordered for nine other schools as part of the ongoing probe being conducted by the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance. Those schools join 11 others already under state investigation.

The reviews center on instances where wrong answers were changed to correct responses at unusually high rates in at least one grade for the NJ ASK exams. The tests were administered in 2010 to students in grades 3 through 8.

The schools were initially directed to review the test results and provide the state with explanations for what may have caused the discrepancies. The state then used these self-reports as part of the process to determine whether further reviews were needed.

Acting state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf notified the schools of the state's decisions in letters sent on Friday. He stressed that the decision to keep investigating at some schools did not mean there was any specific evidence that any cheating or wrongdoing had occurred.

It is unclear when the more intensive reviews of 20 schools will be complete. They include eight schools in Newark; two each in East Orange and Woodbridge, and single schools in Atlantic City, Bloomfield, Bridgeton, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Orange, Ridgefield Park and Union City.

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