Five Prince William County teachers, two of which were put on administrative leave, are retaking test administration training after they reportedly offered inappropriate assistance to students taking standardized tests, the Washington Examiner first reported.
About 30 students had to be retested, Prince William County Schools spokesperson Phil Kavits said.
The school system began investigating these testing incidents individually, prompted by comments from students or other teachers, Kavits told Patch.
"There is a real sense of the importance of the integrity of this process," he said, noting that it was common for a fellow teacher to report an inappropriate action on the part of a colleague. "What hasn't come up is the number of tests that are given with no problems."
The standardized testing environment is heavily scripted. "They're supposed to stick with that script," Kavits said. "In at least one case, it sounds like in trying to clarify an issue, the teacher may have stepped over the line."
"At Elizabeth Vaughan Elementary in Woodbridge, one teacher indicated correct answers by saying 'You go!' and a student’s name or giving a pat on the back," The Washington Post reported.
Kavits said he couldn't state with certainty what a teacher's motive might be in such a situation, but felt that a teacher's enthusiasm for their job and desire to do their best might lead them to step over the line.
"Each of the individual cases was different," he told Patch. "In one of the cases, it wasn't any help at all provided to students, it was a case of a teacher taking notes on the test. It's probably a teacher looking for how they might be able to do a better job in the future. Nevertheless, it flew in the face of the rules."
In the case of a teacher giving cues to students, "they're very eager to help," he said.
These teachers must now go back and look at the testing manual, at the testing agreement they signed, and at the law.
"It's really a case of making sure they understand the rules, that the integrity of the test is upheld, and most of all, that it doesn't happen again, and that everyone around understands that it's not acceptable," Kavits said.