April 17, 2012
DCPS Maintains Strong Test Security Protocols as Administration of DC CAS Begins This Week
Testing begins on Tuesday, April 17
Schools across the district are preparing this week for the upcoming 2012 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS), which begins next Tuesday, April 17. This end-of the-year standardized test is just one tool DCPS uses to set high expectations and ensure students are on track and learning.
DCPS maintains some of the most stringent security protocols for the administration of the test in an effort to eliminate any suspicion of testing impropriety and ensure the accuracy of testing data.
The protocols, developed in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), hold teachers and school leaders to the highest testing integrity standards before, during and after the DC-CAS.
“At DCPS and school districts across the country, test data pinpoint strengths and weaknesses at the student and school levels and help us determine strategies to assist students in overcoming obstacles to success,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “However, if we can’t trust our data, we cannot help students. That is why we established strong, clear testing integrity protocols and why we condemn any instances of cheating in our schools.”
Along with paced interim assessments, a series of tests implemented this school year to benchmark student learning every six to eight weeks, the DC-CAS holds DCPS accountable for meeting high standards for student success.
This year, the standardized test will be administered April 17-27 and will assess student progress in reading (grades 2-10); math (grades 2-8 and 10); science (grades 5 and 8); biology (in high school); writing (grades 4, 7 and 10); and health (grades 5, 8 and high school).
DCPS and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) have strong testing integrity protocols to prevent any impropriety:
- School test coordinators and principals drafted detailed test security plans and submitted them to the central office for approval.
- DCPS has assigned at least one full-time external testing observer to each school. Some schools will have multiple observers.
- DCPS and OSSE have conducted intensive training sessions for test coordinators and testing staff at the central office. Observers have also been trained and will report observations daily.
- There are two adults in all classrooms of 10 or more students.
Observers, working with test coordinators, have been instructed to hold the integrity and accuracy of the testing by preventing any dishonest or fraudulent behavior and prompting a fair and equitable testing environment.
All staff also has been instructed to be vigilant and report any violations or suspected violations immediately to test coordinators, OSSE and central office staff who oversee test security protocols.
Any breach of test security may cause the invalidation of test results or other data and invalidate any graduation, programmatic, or evaluative criteria. Past violations have resulted in teachers being terminated from the school district or from administering future tests. In addition, DCPS has instructed school-based and testing staff to report immediately any breach of test security, and, along with OSSE, has set up a confidential test security hotline number.