FILE:  IIB

 

TEST SECURITY

 

 

The Plaquemines Parish School Board holds the test security policy of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to be of utmost importance and deems any violation of test security to be serious.

 

Any teacher or other school personnel who allows or breaches test security, including unauthorized access to electronic data, shall be disciplined in accordance with statutory provisions, policy and regulations adopted by BESE and the School Board, and any and all laws that may be enacted by the state.

 

Employees shall be responsible for reporting irregularities or improprieties in the administration of standardized tests.  Although procedures for reporting irregularities to district personnel are listed below, employees may report such information directly to the Louisiana Department of Education, which shall investigate the allegations.  No employee shall make a report of irregularities or improprieties in the administration of standardized tests knowing that the information included is false.  No employee shall knowingly obstruct the procedures for receiving and investigating a report of irregularities or improprieties in the administration of standardized tests.

 

No public school administrator or member of a School Board shall retaliate against an employee who in good faith participates in an investigation of testing administration improprieties or irregularities.  Retaliation shall include discharging, demoting, suspending, threatening, harassing, or discriminating of an employee who in good faith reports testing administration improprieties or irregularities.

 

  1. Tests administered by or through the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) shall include, but not be limited to:

 

    1. The High School Graduation Exit Examination;

    2. High School Equivalency Program Test (GED);

    3. All Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRT) and Norm-Referenced Tests (NRT);

    4. All Alternate Assessments

    5. All End of Course (EOC) Tests

    6. All Academic Skills Assessments (ASA) Tests.

 

  1. Plaquemines Parish School District Test Security policy shall include all participating schools that utilize tests administered through the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), the Louisiana Department of Education or the School Board.

  2. It shall be a violation of test security for any person to do any of the following:

 

    1. Administer tests in a manner that is inconsistent with the administrative instructions provided by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) which would give students an unfair advantage or disadvantage;

    2. Give curriculum specialists, administrators, counselors, examinees, or any individual access to test questions prior to testing;

    3. Examine any test item at any time (except for students during the test or test administrators while providing the accommodations “Tests Read Aloud” or “Communication Assistance” for students determined to be eligible for those accommodations);

    4. At any time, copy, reproduce, discuss or use in a manner inconsistent with test regulations, all or part of any secure test booklet, answer document, or supplementary secure materials;

    5. Coach examinees during testing or alter or interfere with examinees' responses in any manner;

    6. Provide answers to examinees in any manner including provision of cues, clues, hints and/or actual answers in any form - written, printed, verbal, or nonverbal;

    7. Administer published parallel, previously administered, or current forms of any statewide assessment as a practice test or study guide;

    8. Fail to follow security regulations for distribution and return of secure test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials, as well as overages as directed, or fail to account for and secure test materials before, during or after testing;

    9. Conduct testing in environments that differ from the usual classroom environment without prior written permission from the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Assessments and Accountability.

    10. Failure to report any testing irregularities to the district test coordinator (a "testing irregularity" is any incident in test handling or administration that leads to a question regarding the security of the test or the accuracy of the test data), who must report such incidents to the Division of Assessments and Accountability.

    11. Participate in, direct, aid, counsel, assist in, encourage, or fail to report any of the acts prohibited in this section.

 

  1. Plaquemines Parish School System prohibits the possession and use of cell phones and other electronic devices by students, test administrators and proctors during the testing period and in the vicinity of test documents as follows:

 

    1. Students are not allowed to possess cell phones and/or other electronic devices or any digital music player such as an iPod, at any time in Plaquemines Parish Schools.  Possession of a cell phone or other devices during testing shall result in invalidation of test scores in addition to the consequences stated in the Plaquemines Parish Discipline Policy;

    2. The use of cell phones and/or other electronic devices during testing by test administrators and proctors will be considered a breach of test security and will be dealt with in accordance with #17, page 7 of this document.  In addition, school personnel must make certain that electronic devices are in the “OFF” position while test booklets and answer documents are in the vicinity.

 

  1. A Statement of Assurance regarding the Board's test security policy shall be submitted annually to the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Assessments and Accountability.  This statement shall include the name of the individual designated by the Superintendent to procure test materials.  The Plaquemines Parish School Board has developed and adopted a district test security policy that is in compliance with the state's test security and assurance policy.  The Plaquemines Parish Test Security Statement of Assurance provides:

 

    1. Security of the test materials during testing, including test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials video tapes, and completed observation sheets shall be under the direct supervision of the test administrator;

    2. The storage of all test materials, except district and school test coordinator manuals and test administration manuals, shall be kept in a designated, locked secure storage area before, during, and after testing; all secure materials, including any parallel forms of a test, must be kept in locked storage at both the district and school levels; secure materials must never be left in open areas or unattended;

    3. A description and record of professional development for school test coordinators, test administrators, and proctors shall be conducted at the central office and school level on test security, test administration, and security procedures for individual student test data provided for all individuals with access to test materials or individual student test data.  Access to secure test materials by school personnel shall mean physically handling the materials, but does not include reading, reviewing, or analyzing test items, either before or after testing, which are prohibited.

      In addition, the Board shall maintain administrative procedures to assign a different test administrator for a class than the teacher of record for the class, except for teachers testing students with accommodations and younger students, grades 3 through 8.

      The Board shall also maintain administrative procedures for the monitoring of test sites to ensure appropriate test security procedures are being followed and to observe test administration procedures.

    4. A list to include the principal, school test coordinator and any personnel authorized to have access to the locked, secure storage area;

    5. Procedures for investigating any testing irregularities, including violations in test security, such as plagiarism and excessive wrong-to-right erasures identified through erasure analysis shall be investigated immediately;

    6. Investigations of employees accused of irregularities or improprieties in the administration of standardized tests, as required by the amended La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:81.6 shall be conducted immediately at the school and district levels;

    7. Investigation of any missing test booklets, answer documents, or supplementary secure materials shall be conducted immediately at the school level by the school test coordinator and principal.

 

  1. A Statement of Assurance regarding the School Board’s End of Course (EOC) emergency plan shall also be submitted annually to the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Assessments and Accountability.  In the event of a major emergency that results in the disruption of online testing, the Plaquemines Parish School Board shall transfer students to the nearest operable computer lab within the district.

  2. Plaquemines Parish School Board procedures for investigating missing secure materials, any testing irregularity (including cheating), and any employees accused of improprieties shall include the following:

 

    1. The district test coordinator shall initiate the investigation upon the district's determination of an irregularity or breach of security or upon notification by the Louisiana Department of Education.  The investigation shall be conducted by the district test coordinator and other central office staff as designated by the district superintendent;

    2. The location of the pre-determined, locked, secure area for storage of materials shall be examined, and the individuals with access to secure materials shall be identified;

    3. Interviews regarding testing administration and security procedures shall be conducted with the principal, school test coordinator(s), test administrator(s), and proctor(s) at the identified schools.  All individuals who had access to the test materials at any time must be interviewed;

    4. Interviews shall be conducted with students in the identified classes regarding testing procedures, layout of the classroom, access to test materials before the test, and access to unauthorized materials during testing;

    5. After completion of the investigation, the district shall provide a report of the investigation and a written plan of action to the state superintendent within thirty (30) calendar days of the initiation of the investigation.  At a minimum, the report shall include the nature of the situation, the time and place of occurrence, and the names of the persons involved in or witnesses to the occurrence.  Officials from the Louisiana Department of Education are authorized to conduct additional investigations;

 

  1. Test materials, including all test booklets, answer documents, supplementary secure materials containing secure test questions, video tapes, and completed observation sheets, shall be kept secure and accounted for in accordance with the procedure specified in the test administration manuals and other communications provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

    Secure test materials are those materials that contain test items or student responses and to which access is restricted.  Secure test materials include, student test booklets, student answer documents, any supplementary secure materials, and any other materials that contain test items or student responses.

    Procedures described in the test manuals shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

    1. All test booklets, answer documents, and supplementary secure materials must be kept in a designated, locked secure storage area prior to and after administration of any test; test administrators are to be given access to the tests and any supplementary secure materials only on the day the test is to be administered, and these are to be retrieved immediately after testing is completed for the day and stored in a locked, secure location each day of testing;

    2. All test booklets, answer documents, and supplementary secure materials must be accounted for and written documentation kept by test administrators and proctors for each point at which test materials are distributed and returned;

    3. Any discrepancies noted in the serial numbers of test booklets, answer documents, and any supplementary secure materials or the quantity received from contractors must be reported to the Division of Assessments and Accountability (LDE) by the designated institutional or school district personnel prior to the administration of the test;

    4. In the event that test booklets, answer documents, or supplementary secure materials are determined to be missing while in the possession of the school or in the event of any other testing irregularities or breaches of security, the designated school district personnel must immediately notify by telephone the district test coordinator and follow the detailed procedures for investigating and reporting specified in this policy.

 

  1. ONLY personnel inserviced in test security and administration at the central office and school level shall be allowed to have access to or administer any standardized tests.

  2. The Superintendent must designate one individual in the district as district test coordinator who is authorized to procure test materials that are utilized in testing programs administered by or through the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) or the Louisiana Department of Education.  The name of the individual designated must be provided in writing to the Division of Assessments and Accountability (LDE) and included on the "Statement of Assurance."

  3. Testing shall be conducted in class-sized groups.  Permission for testing in environments that differ from the usual classroom environment must be obtained in writing from the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Assessments and Accountability, at least thirty (30) days prior to testing.  If testing outside the usual classroom environment is approved by the Division of Assessments and Accountability, the School Board must provide at least one proctor for every thirty (30) students.

  4. The State Superintendent of Education may disallow test results that may have been achieved in a manner that is in violation of test security.

  5. In cases in which test results are not accepted because of a breach of test security or action by the Louisiana Department of Education, any programmatic, evaluative, or graduation criteria dependent upon the data shall be deemed not to have been met.

  6. Individuals shall adhere to all procedures specified in all manuals that govern mandated testing programs.

  7. Any individual(s) who knowingly engage(s) in any activity during testing that results in invalidation of scores derived from the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP), Graduation Exit Examination (GEE), or integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP) shall forfeit the test results but will be allowed to retake the test at the next test administration.

  8. Anyone known to be involved in the presentation of forged, counterfeit, or altered identification for the purposes of obtaining admission to a test administration site for any test administered by or through the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) or the Louisiana Department of Education shall have breached test security.  Any individual who knowingly causes or allows the presentation of forged, counterfeit, or altered identification for the purpose of obtaining admission to any test administration site must forfeit all test scores but will be allowed to retake the test at the next test administration.

  9. The Plaquemines Parish School District shall ensure that individual students test data are protected from unauthorized access and disclosure.  The District Test Coordinator and other authorized users of the LEAPweb Reporting System the LEAPdata Query System, and the Enhanced Assessment of Grade Level Expectations (EAGLE) System shall ensure the security of passwords, any disks or CDs with downloaded individual student test data, and student-level test data open on a computer screen.  The District Test Coordinator is responsible for providing training regarding the security and confidentiality of individual student test data (in paper and electronic format) and of aggregated data of fewer than ten students.  Any student information from these systems shall not be disclosed to anyone other than a state, district, or school official, or parent/guardian as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).  All users who are granted a password to these systems shall abide by FERPA provisions.

    School level passwords for access to individual school data shall be provided to school principals by the District Test Coordinator as requested.  Principals shall be responsible for distributing the password as needed to school personnel and to provide for security and confidentiality of the school level password.

    All users shall be required to sign a security agreement guaranteeing they will not share any password with unauthorized individuals and maintain the confidentiality of student data.  A copy of the security agreement shall be sent to the District Test Coordinator for safekeeping, or for school users, maintained by the principal of each school.  Signed security agreements shall be valid until the District Test Coordinator receives notification that the Security Agreement available online has been revised.  A new security agreement shall be signed by all users each year after the new password letter for schools and districts has been automatically generated in August of each year.  If a breach in security occurs, principals shall immediately contact the District Test Coordinator or his/her backup for a replacement password.  Users who have access to these systems and leave their positions at a district or school site shall not use or share any passwords.  District Test Coordinators shall send their signed security agreements for the Louisiana Department of Education.

 

  1. Any teacher(s) or other school personnel who breach(es) test security or allow breaches in test security shall be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:416 et seq., La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:441 et seq., La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:81.6 et seq., policy and regulations adopted by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), and any and all laws that may be enacted by the Louisiana Legislature.  Such disciplinary actions could result in termination of employment with the School Board.

  2. Anyone involved in the administration of tests or have access to test materials (access to test materials means handling the materials but does not include reviewing tests or analyzing test items) shall be included in the professional development session at the central office level and school level prior to the administration date(s).

  3. To void a student's answer document, a committee of the principal, school test coordinator and test administrator shall convene to review the testing situation and determine whether to void the test score of the student.  Should the committee decide to void the score, the school test coordinator must submit a letter on school letterhead with the principal's signature.

  4. The District Test Coordinator shall investigate anonymous complaints regarding test security violations.  The District Test Coordinator shall convene immediately with the school test coordinator, principal, and test administrator.  A report of allegation findings shall be reported to the superintendent immediately.  A verification of any violation shall be brought to the superintendent.  The Superintendent will further investigate and any validation of a violation shall be brought to the Plaquemines Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Education.

  5. Anyone involved in an erasure analysis violation investigation and/or any other violation shall be notified immediately by the Superintendent, District Test Coordinator and school administrator immediately.  The District Test Coordinator and principal shall investigate the allegations fully at the school level.  A report of the findings shall be brought to the superintendent, the full board and submitted to the State Department of Education within thirty (30) days.  Any individual(s) in violation shall be disciplined in accordance with the provisions in La. Rev. Stat. Ann.  §17:416 et seq., La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:441 et seq., La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:442 and La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:443.  A verification of an individual involved in an erasure analysis violation where test scores are invalidated, such individual(s) SHALL BE TERMINATED.

  6. All test administrators and test proctors shall be inserviced by the school test coordinator(s) on the procedures, test administration and test security (only inserviced personnel at the central office and school level shall be allowed access to administer any state standardized tests).

  7. Anyone involved in the test administration, but does not monitor students properly shall be disciplined for inappropriate test security procedures.

  8. No teacher shall be allowed to administer the state's standardized test if he/she did not attend a full inservice on test security and administration by the school test coordinator.

 

Revised:  November, 2010

Revised:  January 10, 2011

Revised:  January 10, 2012

 

 

Ref:    La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:24, 17:81, 17:81.6, 49:953

Statewide Assessment Standards and Practices, Bulletin 118, Louisiana Department of Education

Board minutes, 1-11-10, 1-10-11, 1-10-12

 

Plaquemines Parish School Board