State Superintendent of Public Instruction Releases Findings From the NDE’s Investigation of Testing Irregularities at Kelly Elementary School


Carson City, NV - April 16, 2014

Immediate Release

Carson City, Nevada – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga today released findings and determinations from the Nevada Department of Education’s investigation of testing irregularities at Kelly Elementary School in Clark County School District. The complete Summary of Findings and Determinations is available on the NDE website: click here.

The investigation at Kelly Elementary School was prompted by submission of an anonymous Report of Testing Irregularity in April 2012, accusing the principal of improperly coaching students to change their answers during administration of the state Criterion Referenced Test (CRT) in the spring of 2012. When the CRT scores for Kelly ES were released in June 2012, significant increases in student math and reading scores prompted the CCSD Superintendent of Schools to request further investigation. In 2013, test scores declined significantly after the CRTs were administered under district supervision, leading to further investigation.

The Department deposed or interviewed fifteen witnesses, including educators at the school who administered the CRT, the Kelly ES office manager, the assistant principal, the principal, and a central office administrator. The Department also reviewed materials related to test administration and security and over 2,000 pages of documents received in response to subpoenas. An erasure detection analysis conducted by Measured Progress, the state’s contracted vendor for the CRT, revealed a disproportionately high occurrence of incorrect-to-correct erasures for the 2012 CRT administration. The Department determined that adults altered the student answer sheets but was unable to determine which individual(s) had done so.

"I have no doubt that a testing irregularity occurred at this school, and that student answer sheets were altered by one or more adults in the system," said Superintendent Erquiaga. "Testing security procedures were also breached.  However, the investigation has not yielded the identity of the individual or group of individuals who changed the answers in 2012.  It is time for the school, the district, and the Department to bring closure to the issue, restoring the focus on students and the classroom.  The determinations I have issued today will serve to move the school forward."

As a result of the investigation, the scores from the CRTs administered at Kelly ES in school year 2011-12 will be invalidated. Letters of admonition concerning the conduct of the principal and assistant principal at Kelly ES will be prepared by Superintendent Erquiaga and forwarded to the Clark County School Superintendent for his consideration of disciplinary action. The Department's investigation will remain open pending the Clark County School Superintendent's action, and the State Board of Education may subsequently be asked to consider the suspension or revocation of licenses.

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NOTE FOR EDITORS:  The Superintendent will not be giving interviews on this matter.  He will make a report to the State Board of Education on Thursday, April 17, at the meeting beginning at 9:00 AM.