Info from the district:
- Title One and LAP money for Beacon Hill will not be affected by any outcome from this investigation.
- Numbers of students affected (The final state test data has been erased by OSPI.) Grade 3: 72, Grade 4:70, Grade 5:78 for a total of 220 students (this would include Director Blanford's child who was a 5th grader last year).
- Test scores are part of four items in the principals' contract for a bonus of up to $7500; test scores factor into discussions around teacher growth/improvement but are not used in "summative evaluation."
- The last test date was May 8. The tests were returned May 22.
- During that time, the testing booklets stored were stored in the extra custodian’s closet. That location was locked. Those with access were Principal, Assistant Principal, Family Support Worker and Custodians. (per my source, that is not accurate; more people than that had access to that storage area.)
- The district’s independent investigator is Curman Sebree. (My comment here is that apparently this investigator is not well-thought of by numerous district employees.)
- Re: chain of custody
The test materials arrive in sealed boxes at the school. The school’s designated Test Coordinator is responsible for storing them in a secure locked location with limited access by staff. The storage location and the names of any individuals with access to this location must be documented and submitted to the District Assessment Coordinator.
On the day of the test, the tests are distributed to the classrooms with an accounting of the number of tests that go to each teacher.
Following the test, at the end of test period (typically no more than 3 hours) the tests are returned to the secure location and checked-in by the School Test Coordinator. Tests are required to remain secure in the locked location until all tests have been administered, including make-up tests.
Once all tests have been completed and accounted for, the tests are hand delivered to the central warehouse by the School Test Coordinator. This is done by appointment with the District Assessment Coordinator who goes through a detailed process with the School Test Coordinator to ensure proper coding has been completed for all tests and all materials are sorted and processed properly for delivery to the test scoring company. The boxes are then sealed and labeled for shipping by the District Assessment Coordinator.
State testing is transitioning to a new computer based process in 2015 that will be much more secure. For the few remaining paper-based state tests (e.g., MSP science, Algebra EOC, Biology EOC), the District plans to institute the following changes:
Provide each school with portable locked storage unit that can be located in a secure room with limited access. Only one key for the portable locker would be available to the School Test Coordinator. No other staff would have access. (This proposal has not gone through a budget approval process.)
Institute a new audit checklist that can be used by District administrators to spot check schools before, during and after testing to ensure all tests are secure and the test protocol is followed during test administration.
Shorten the appointment window for returning tests to within 1-2 days after the completion of testing. This will be accomplished by hiring one additional full time staff member plus seasonal part-time help to support a significantly faster process for checking in completed tests.
End of update
Andrew Medina, the Internal Auditor, gave a report last night that included the information about schools hanging onto test booklets for weeks. He said this audit finding had not been triggered by any event (i.e. Beacon Hill). Unfortunately, Mr. Medina did not say nor did any Directors ask what the window of time is to send back test booklets to OSPI (given the test window is about a month.)
I have a query to OSPI about this issue. They could only tell me that they have guidelines given to the districts but they are not anything beyond guidelines and districts make their own rules about where test booklets reside and how long schools should keep booklets. OSPI is also sending me dates for when test booklets have to be sent back to them.
I also learned that there were probably many more people who possibly had keys at Beacon Hill including staff other than teachers/administrators and employees of the on-site child care facility.
The custodian at the building was relatively new. When he found out that multiple people had keys and, he had the building rekeyed (at least parts including that storage closet which did not hold janitorial supplies). He told the principal that the Board policy was that he was to oversee key distribution and had to follow that policy.
I also learned that the principal at Beacon Hill is being considered for a new position at South Shore prek-8.
Will this turn out as the Garfield field trip incident? Nothing happened and no one at fault? Seems hard to believe but that may be the case.