On April 16, 2013 a student reported to Mrs. Bobbie Kavanaugh, principal at McKinley Elementary School, that a teacher had improperly assisted students with questions on the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) examination. The California Department of Education (CDE) requires that all test examiners sign the STAR Test Security Affidavit that includes the following direction, “I will not review any test questions, passages, or other test items independently or with pupils or any other person before, during, or following testing.”
Providing students with assistance on the test is defined as a testing irregularity. If the testing irregularity is confirmed by the CDE, then it could have negative consequences for the class, school, and district. The class may have its scores invalidated, the school may not get a score for the Academic Performance Index (API), and the district may have its API score reduced.
Immediately following the allegation, an investigation was conducted and the findings forwarded to the CDE. The investigation was conducted by Sharon Cuseo, Director of Instruction and Accountability; and Dr. Tom Kissinger, Director of Elementary Education and Categorical Programs. The classroom teacher was placed on administrative leave pending all results and outcomes of the investigation. On April 18, 2013, the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) was contacted by the CDE with the initial determination. The CDE confirmed that it was likely that a testing irregularity occurred. The first consequence is that the scores for the students in the classroom will be invalidated. According to the CDE, the next step is to determine if the school’s API will be withheld. In order to make this determination, the details of the alleged infraction will be reviewed by a team at the state level and the results provided to the District Superintendent in writing in approximately six weeks.