Fort Benning teacher investigated after cheating accusation

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 12, 2014 

Cars leave the Fort Benning main gate onto Fort Benning Drive Tuesday. 10.01.13

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

A Fort Benning teacher has been accused of cheating on a standardized test, and the allegation is being investigated.

Fort Benning superintendent Christy Cabezas confirmed the investigation Wednesday, but she wouldn't say at which school the alleged cheating took place.

The allegation is that a teacher improperly administered a TerraNova test, an achievement exam used by Department of Defense schools, during the two-week testing period that ended March 7, Cabezas said. A school employee made the accusation in a conversation with her last week, she said.

Asked how many students allegedly were involved, Cabezas said, "At this point in time, we don't have any other information because the investigation is pending."

Cabezas said she isn't aware of any previous allegations of cheating at Fort Benning schools. She was the assistant superintendent of the Harris County School District until December 2012, when she became the Georgia/Alabama District superintendent for the Department of Defense Education Activity. The district comprises Fort Benning, Fort Rucker and Maxwell Air Force Base.

In a letter she read to parents and sponsors via a recorded telephone message Tuesday afternoon, Cabezas said she immediately assigned assistant superintendent Sue Burdick "to begin an aggressive investigation into the allegation."

The accused teacher's employment status hasn't changed, Cabezas told the Ledger-Enquirer, because the investigation isn't finished. "We'll handle this as quickly as possible," she said.

In her letter, Cabezas noted that the test booklets in question are being held until the investigation is completed.

"I am very concerned that this may have occurred and take this matter very seriously," the superintendent wrote. "In all of our Fort Benning schools we have very strict test security and continuously emphasize and train on the importance of proper testing procedures. Once this investigation is completed, we will carefully review the report. If impropriety is confirmed, we will take swift, appropriate action."

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.

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