Broward and Palm Beach Schools Identified in Possible FCAT Cheating

Schools in the Broward and Palm Beach school districts have been asked to determine whether cheating occurred on Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test in their schools, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Deborah Higgins, an information specialist for the Florida Department of Education, tells New Times that schools in 14 districts statewide -- including Broward and Palm Beach -- were flagged for having "extremely unusual levels of erasures" in this year's FCAT.

The Florida Department of Education has sent the 14 districts memos, asking that they investigate the alleged cheating.

There's no indication as to how many schools or which schools in Broward and Palm Beach have been identified as possible cheaters, as Higgins says information identifying schools or personnel will be withheld until the investigations are completed.

The state contracted Caveon Test Security to do an analysis of this year's FCATs, which can identify not only tests with abnormal markings but also find patterns of similar test responses.

Out of more than 4 million tests, they invalidated 6,967 of them through their analysis.

That's when they flagged the 14 districts about the high levels of erasure marks.

According to Florida Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Kris Ellington, the department may require that the school districts conduct an internal investigation and forward those results to them.

The other 12 districts asked to investigate are Miami-Dade, Duval, Flagler, Gadsden, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Orange, Polk, and Seminole.

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