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Two charter schools' DC CAS scores thrown out due to irregularities

Yesterday the Office of the State Superintendent of Education released its integrity review of the administration of the 2013 DC CAS by all public schools in the nation's capital. Facilities with identified problems are placed into one of three categories as explained by the D.C. Public Charter School Board:

Minor, with procedural infractions,

Moderate, which includes anomalies with defined violations but not test tampering or fraud; and

Critical, which includes test tampering or academic fraud. Schools in this set have their results invalidated.

In the minor category are Community Academy, Options, and Friendship Tech Prep Public Charter Schools. Moving to the moderate group the charters listed are Achievement Prep, Maya Angelou, Cesar Chavez Parkside High, Perry Street Preparatory, and Paul. Finally, those with the most serious findings and detailed as having critical issues in administering the 2013 DC CAS are Ideal Academy and Cesar Chavez Parkside Middle Public Charter Schools.

The PCSB states that it takes standardized testing irregularities extremely seriously, which indeed they do. Last year those schools found to have critical and moderate violations ended up replacing staff in addition to developing new procedures around students taking the examination. The DC CAS is of course central to the ranking of charters because its scores determine to a large degree the Performance Management Framework grade, and therefore impact the Tier that these schools find themselves in. As an indication of the accountability that the Board is exerting in this area, the body pointed out that both Perry Street and Ideal recently received 15 year renewals of their charters. But because of these violations the DC CAS results will be recalculated and the schools could now face repercussions from the PCSB.

On the DCPS side four schools, Patterson, Nalle, Shepherd, and Wilson had minor irregularities. Only Kimball was listed in the moderate group, and Oyster Adams and Plummer were found to have critical violations.

For the charters landing in the moderate and critical categories the first step the PCSB will take is to approach the schools' trustees to determine the steps that will be taken to prevent these findings going forward. We can expect much discussion of these violations at the Board's upcoming monthly meetings.

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