2 Minnesota teachers caught cheating during MCA testing

Cheating in schools is bound to happen, but we don't usually think of it happening from teachers.  Some teachers at Minnesota schools are being accused of helping students on standardized tests.

The Department of Education has very strict rules regarding Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). This spring, there were 91 security notifications – most aren't malicious, but still results in dozens of tests being tossed out.

“Many of them are innocuous or have no malicious intent,” Josh Collins, Minnesota Department of Education, said. “Could be as minor as a student threw up in the class and disrupted the testing environment, could be there was a poster scene left on the wall that had information that could be used on the test, or it could be that someone saw something happen like a teacher answering a question in a way that they shouldn't have.”

What's concerning though, is reports from two schools of teachers cheating.  Whatever their intent is, you’re not allowed to help students in any way at all.

At St. Paul's Linwood Monroe Elementary, a teacher was seen prompting students during a test session, giving them cues. Twenty-one tests were tossed out and the teacher was put on administrative leave.

Also, at Cannon Falls Elementary, two teachers were reported. One only answered some questions after the test was done, and was found to have done nothing wrong.  But another admitted to helping 5th grade students solve math problems by writing on their scratch paper, defining math terms, and explaining to them what kinds of problems they were.  That teacher has since resigned.

MCA testing is used in Minnesota schools to measure student achievement. From this, educators are able to get an idea of how well their students are learning the concepts presented to them in the classroom.

It's unclear if the teachers were simply trying to be helpful or if if they were trying to pump up scores to make themselves look better. But it doesn't matter, the rules are so strict that even posters on classroom walls have prompted invalidated tests because they have inadvertently helped.