Incidences of teachers assisting students as they took state standardized tests this year in Cannon Falls and St. Paul has led to the tossing of nearly 50 exam results, state Department of Education reports show.
At Cannon Falls Elementary, a teacher monitoring fifth-graders admitted to "helping students find the correct answers by writing on their scratch paper, giving definitions to math terms and telling students what 'type' of problem it was," according to a state report.
The teacher quit in May, citing personal reasons unrelated to the testing issue, and the math results for the 26 students who took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) were tossed.
"We take testing very seriously and we want what's best for our kids," Superintendent Beth Giese said Thursday. "It's the first time we've ever had an incident."
At Linwood Monroe Arts Plus in St. Paul, a teacher/proctor was put on administrative leave after going beyond the role of simply reading test directions and "providing students with direct prompting and direction on test items while they took the test," the school district said.
The results for 21 seventh-graders were invalidated, as a result.
Each year, students take the MCAs to chart the progress of schools and districts, and to monitor school improvement and accountability. Scores do not affect a student's grades in school. Altogether, more than 500,000 Minnesota students take some or all the tests covering math, reading and science.
The state Department of Education is required by state law to maintain the integrity of the MCAs, and as such, looks into all reports of possible test security breaches.
The St. Paul and Cannon Falls violations were first reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which requested copies of all reports submitted to the state in 2014-15.
Staff Writer Erin Adler contributed to this report.