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Waterbury CMT Investigative Report 9-13-11

Waterbury CMT Investigative Report 9-13-11

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Published by Republican-American
Connecticut Department of Education investigation shows testing irregularities during the Connecticut Mastery Tests at Waterbury's Hopeville Elementary School.
Connecticut Department of Education investigation shows testing irregularities during the Connecticut Mastery Tests at Waterbury's Hopeville Elementary School.

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Published by: Republican-American on Oct 25, 2011
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10/25/2011

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A team of staff members was responsible for test storage and security, including
counting and organizing the student answer booklets, keeping track of test questions and
related materials, placing the tests in boxes, and storing them in the designated location.
While interviewees differed in their responses in terms of who was part of the team
charged with these responsibilities, answers were generally consistent in stating that Mr.
Smith, Mrs. Bette, and Mrs. Perugini had these responsibilities, with the occasional
oversight and assistance of Mrs. Ramirez and Mrs. Moulthrop.

The daily protocol for handling test materials at Hopeville during the administration
of the CMT was described consistently by the interviewees. In the morning, classroom
teachers would pick up their boxes from Mrs. Moulthrop's office and bring them to their
classrooms. The proctors of those students who would be removed from their regular
classrooms to be tested in small groups would then arrive at the classroom to pick up
those students as well as their test booklets. At the conclusion of the testing period, the
classroom teacher would collect the booklets and replace them in the boxes; small group
proctors would also return the booklets to the appropriate box. At the end of each testing
session, the classroom teacher was responsible for carrying the box of tests back to Mrs.
Moulthrop's office, where they were stored on the office floor. One ELL teacher, Mrs.
Perez, the fourth grade bilingual teacher, stated that Mrs. Moulthrop told her she was
allowed to keep her box of student test booklets in her room overnight and that she did so
for the duration of the testing. Mrs. Perez explained that she placed the box in a closet in

Page 28 of 44

Waterbury CMT Investigative Report
Siegel, O'Connor, O'Donnell & Beck P.C.
September 13, 2011

Mrs. O'Alessio stated that she would pick up her box of test booklets each day from
Mrs. Moulthrop's office. Some nights, she forgot to bring her box back down to the office,
so she placed the box underneath her desk. Classrooms were normally locked each night
by custodians when they closed the building at approximately 6:30 pm. She said that Mrs.
Moulthrop was aware of this and endorsed this practice, although most nights Mrs.
O'Alessio did remember to return her box to the office.

her classroom, but that the closet did not have a lock on it. She said she was unsure of
what other teachers may have done with their boxes.

The boxes containing the test booklets were consistently described by interviewees
as copy paper boxes, though some witnesses described them as having lids while others
did not. Each box was labeled with a number indicating the grade level being tested,
followed by a letter indicating the classroom teacher's last name. For example, the
designation "40" appeared on the box that contained the booklets for Mrs. O'Alessio's
fourth grade classroom. Similar labels would appear on individual students' test booklets,
along with the student's name and any other relevant information (e.g., 504 or ELL
designation). Although the test materials arrived at the school pre-labeled, a few students
did not have pre-labeled materials, due to mid-year registration in the school district or
other similar administrative reasons. For these students, the relevant information was
handwritten in the place where the labels would have normally been placed.

At one point during the CMT, Mrs. D'Alessio noticed test booklets spread out on the
table in Mrs. Moulthrop's office. She inquired about this and was told that "they were
boxing them" by alphabetical order and erasing stray marks. The group who was doing
this at the time was Mrs. Hanson, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Labbe, Mrs. Perugini, and Mrs.
Moulthrop, the group Mrs. D'Alessio believed constituted the Literacy Team.

Ms. Tomasko recalls a specific incident involving a fourth grade special education
student who was assigned to her small group to take the MAS. Mr. Smith called Ms.
Tomasko down to his office to ask about this student, because he could not find the
student's test booklet. The test booklet later was found in Mrs. Moulthrop's office.

Mrs. Battistoni told me that test booklets may be stored in a closed container in a
locked cabinet or closet in a classroom, but should not be kept under a desk.

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