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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
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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From the above findings of fact, I have concluded that test irregularities occurred
with regard to the 2011 GMT at Hopeville. Below are my specific conclusions about each
area of irregularity:

A. Prior to test administration, school employees produced and
distributed practice test questions that had been copied from
unauthorized sources.

As described in Section III.G, the overwhelming majority of interviewees stated that
Mrs. Perugini distributed a list of open-ended questions to teachers at meetings held within
days of the GMT, and stated that she had received these from sources such as her
reading buddies, reading friends, a friend, or a friend at the State. Evidence also suggests
that Mrs. Perugini similarly distributed a list of vocabulary words. Teachers who served as
proctors and were familiar with the GMT questions determined that the list of practice
questions was the same as or highly similar to the questions that appeared on the actual
test, and that both documents were distributed under unusual circumstances. Finally,
individuals in the SDE's Bureau of Student Assessment confirmed that both the open-

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

ended response questions and vocabulary list were nearly identical to the DRP and
Reading Comprehension subtests of the 2011 CMT, leading them to conclude that they
were more likely than not copied from the actual test.

B. During test administration, at the direction of the school principal,
proctors prompted the students in a manner that was intended to
inform students that their answer selections were incorrect and should

Sufficient credible evidence, described at Sections III.C and III.E, exists to support a
finding that Mrs. Moulthrop gave a directive to teachers serving as test proctors to use the
phrase "check your work," with or without simultaneous pointing, to indicate to students
that an answer needed to be changed. It is also evident that, in some cases, Mrs.
Moulthrop made the effort to convince teachers that this practice was acceptable. Some
teachers admitted to carrying out this directive, and students also confirmed that this

C. Students who should have been tested with their regular classrooms
were removed for small group testing without any valid reason for such

Section III.F describes in detail the evidence supporting the following findings with
regard to the unauthorized small grouping of students for testing: (1) students were
identified as eligible for 504 accommodations plans and given such plans, or at least given
small group testing as an accommodation, for reasons unrelated to disabling conditions
that would require a small group test setting; (2) special education students, or students
who had recently been exited from special education, were inappropriately placed in small
group testing, sometimes by holding a PPT meeting just prior to the CMT in order to justify
changing a student's accommodations, despite the fact that such change was
inappropriate; (3) special education students who were placed on the skills checklist in lieu
of the standard or modified CMT were purposely kept on the list by way of the principal's
directive to lower the scores of these students; (4) Hopeville used an inappropriate
"behavior" designation to predetermine that certain students should be tested by Mrs.
Perugini in small groups throughout the entire CMT, sometimes with special education
and/or 504 students who received extra time on their tests. Mrs. Moulthrop played an
active role in each of the foregoing scenarios.

D. The extended time accommodations allowed to students receiving
accommodations were not consistently applied.

Section III.F, which describes the small group testing that took place at Hapeville,
includes the admissions by Mrs. Perugini that she provided time plus time and one half to
504 students, although the appropriate length of time would have been time and one half,
as indicated by the majority of the other proctors and by school district administration. The
evidence also suggests that Mrs. Perugini pulled students out of their regular classrooms

Page43 of 44

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

to complete unfinished test booklets outside of their assigned test setting and after the
conclusion of the test period. Mrs. Perugini also said that behavior students who were
tested alongside her small groups of 504 students, who received extended time as an
accommodation, remained in the test setting when the standard time allotted had run and
waited for the others to finish.

E. Test security was compromised in that all test booklets were not
handled and stored in an appropriate manner.

Section III.G above sets forth evidence that Mr. Smith and Mrs. Bette discovered
that test booklets they had organized and packaged for delivery had been removed from
their boxes on at least one occasion during the 2011 CMT. Mrs. Moulthrop instructed both
teachers to reorganize the booklets, and there was no explanation as to why the packaged
booklets would have been removed. Other teachers recalled incidents in which, after the
conclusion of testing, test booklets were found lying out in Mrs. Moulthrop's office with no
valid explanation. Further, teachers were allowed to keep boxes of test booklets in their
classrooms in an unsecure location.

In addition, Hopeville staff did not meet State protocols in erasing stray marks and
darkening bubbles, as this activity is not supposed to be conducted locally, but requires
oversight at the test coordinator level. Specifically, the issue of stray marks is supposed to
be dealt with by having proctors notice the marks, and then later call a test irregularity in to
the SDE to receive instructions about how to address the issue. What normally happens is
that at least 2 teachers will end up erasing the marks, and keep a record of who the 2
teachers were in the event of a later question concerning tampering with the booklets. In
the absence of specific instructions from the SDE, school district employees other than the
test coordinator are not to alter the inside contents of the test booklets or even review the
booklets after the CMT.

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