While many states have abandoned the model of testing students as a condition of graduation, standardized tests still carry great weight in the K-12 public school system. Whether a charter school is aiming to honor its performance contract to maintain its charter or a public school is seeking as much funding as possible, there are many reasons why educators prioritize state-administered tests.
Teachers and other educators often face various pressures to ensure students achieve high test scores. When those pressures (or other circumstances) lead to allegations of improper testing conduct by an educator, one can suddenly find their license to teach and their livelihood in jeopardy.
Why State Testing Violations Happen
Each state administers educational tests that its legislators and education boards have deemed necessary. In California, students in grades 3-12 must take the Smarter Balanced Test to measure comprehensive skills and knowledge. Students in Florida take the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST), while other states have their own testing requirements.
Each of these tests comes with different implications, and a teacher may be tempted to engage in testing-related improprieties because of:
The Noble Desire to See Students Succeed
Administrators and educators typically want to see their students do well. In some cases, educators commit testing violations for well-intended reasons, including:
- They want to avoid potentially harmful consequences for the student, as failure to pass the exam may have implications for a student's promotion
- They know that students understand a subject but are simply not good test takers
- They want their school to reflect positively, and student test scores are a crucial metric of a school's quality
Teachers who commit testing violations often have no ill intent but face discipline when they break a procedural guideline.
Pressure from Superiors to Improve Test Scores
Strong test scores reflect positively on administrators at a school, who may stand to earn promotions if their students show marked academic progress or prolonged testing success.
Administrators may even pressure educators to improve test scores by any means, including committing testing violations.
A school's collective performance on state-administered exams could, to some degree, determine how much state or federal funding the school receives. Therefore, there may be a powerful financial incentive to boost test scores, even if that means breaking the rules.
It's important to note that you may be unfairly accused of testing violations. We see educators face groundless allegations of misconduct all the time, and we are prepared to defend you whether you've made an error or you're facing false accusations of wrongdoing.
From providing students with questions (and perhaps answers) before a test to taking tests on students' behalf to falsifying answers after the fact, we have seen educators face many testing-related accusations. In every case, we prepare a robust defense for the educator facing professional sanctions.
What to Do If You're an Educator Accused of State Testing Violations
Hire an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team if you are accused of committing a testing violation for state-level assessments. Your state licensing board could suspend or revoke your license, leading to many harmful outcomes.
Our team will immediately investigate the grounds of the allegations against you, prepare a defense, and represent you with your state licensing board. We will work to mitigate harm to the greatest possible degree and keep you working without interruption.