State officials rule Orchard Elementary improperly interfered with test scores

Associated Press
Friday October 05, 2001

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — State officials ruled Wednesday that adults at Orchard Elementary School improperly interfered with student exams to boost test scores and declared the small school ineligible for thousands of dollars in test-related bonuses. 

Orchard will not receive about $70,000 as a reward for improving its Stanford 9 exam scores in spring 2000. The 800-student school is also barred from receiving any cash incentives tied to this year’s testing. 

State investigators determined that answer sheets had an unusually high number of erased marks, and that many wrong answers were corrected. The decision doesn’t specify who is at fault for the irregularities, according to Bob Anderson of the state education department. 

The school contends that no adults tampered with tests and plans to write the California Department of Education to plead its case, said district lawyer Randy Erickson. 

Orchard was one of 51 schools in 43 districts flagged for investigation last year. Four others were in the San Francisco Bay area: Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley, Schafer Park Elementary in Hayward, R.O. Hardin Elementary in Hollister and Toler Heights Elementary in Oakland.