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Nearly 1,000 assessments invalidated by MDE after testing irregularities

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Nearly 1,000 state assessment results have been invalidated by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) following an investigation of testing irregularities in five districts and 12 schools.

The invalidated test results represent less than two-tenths of one percent of the 578,515 tests administered in the spring of 2023.

Here’s a list of schools, grades, and subjects that had a portion of tests invalidated:

Canton Public School District
  • Nichols Middle School – Grades 6, 7 English Language Arts (ELA) and Math
Greenville Public School District
  • Boyd Elementary School – Grade 5 ELA and Math
Hollandale School District
  • Simmons Junior High School – Grade 8 ELA
  • Simmons High School – English II
Jackson Public Schools
  • Dawson Elementary School – Grade 3 ELA and Math
  • Lester Elementary School – Grades 3, 4, 5 ELA and Math; grade 5 Science
  • Marshall Elementary School – Grade 3 ELA
  • McLeod Elementary School – Grades 3, 4, 5 ELA and Math
  • Peeples Middle School – Grades 6, 7, 8 ELA and Math; grade 8 Science
  • Wilkins Elementary School – Grade 4 Math
  • Lanier High School – English II
Wilkinson County School District
  • Wilkinson County High School – English II, Algebra I, U.S. History

The portion of tests invalidated in each grade and subject ranges from eight percent to 94 percent of tests taken in each subject at the schools.

To help ensure assessment results are valid and reliable, the MDE conducts an annual statistical analysis of results for every test that is administered statewide.

Most tests were invalidated because of an extremely high level of similar responses or instances of wrong-to-right answer changes. The probability of the detected irregularities occurring under normal testing conditions is one in 1 quintillion, or 1 billion multiplied by 1 billion.

The MDE then notified the affected superintendents about testing irregularities in their districts on Aug. 15 and provided them with 15 working days to conduct an investigation and submit a report of their findings.

Following the investigations in the Canton and Jackson school districts, district leaders determined 57 educators, administrators, and staff violated test security rules.

The districts took disciplinary action against the employees and reported the personnel to the MDE Office of Educator Misconduct.

School personnel who violate test security rules face further disciplinary action against their educator license, which may include suspension or revocation, and possible criminal charges.

The district-led investigations in the Greenville, Hollandale, and Wilkinson school districts did not identify any school personnel who violated test security rules.

Based on the forensic evidence of testing irregularities, the MDE is now conducting test security and educator misconduct investigations in each of these districts.

“The MDE takes seriously its obligation to ensure the validity of the statewide assessment and accountability systems,” Dr. Ray Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education, explained. “We recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of schools properly administer state assessments. However, interference in state testing corrupts the integrity of the assessments and deprives students and families of receiving a true and accurate measure of student learning and achievement.”

The MDE is sending letters to the parents and guardians of students whose spring 2023 assessment scores were invalidated to inform them that their children’s score reports are not valid.

Families who receive these letters are urged to contact their child’s school district to request a true picture of their child’s performance. Falsified test results deprive students, families, and other teachers of knowing whether students need extra help and support.

Schools that promoted 3rd-grade students with invalidated ELA scores will be required to provide those students with additional support and intervention to ensure the students are reading proficiently.

Students with invalidated high school test results are required to retake the exams in the 2023-24 school year because the assessments are required for graduation.

Schools with invalidated test scores in 10 percent or more of their assessments included in the Mississippi Statewide Accountability System will not receive a letter grade for the 2022-23 school year and will have their accreditation status downgraded or withdrawn.

Grades for the following schools will be noted as test data invalidated:

Grades for the following schools will be noted as test data invalidated:

  • Nichols Middle School
  • Boyd Elementary School
  • Simmons High School
  • Dawson Elementary School
  • Lester Elementary School
  • McLeod Elementary School
  • Peeples Middle School
  • Wilkinson County High School

Jackson school system fires or suspends over 40 employees after testing irregularities 

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