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State investigates cheating on standardized tests, students get zeroes

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BAKER- At least a dozen standardized tests were thrown out from Bakerfield Elementary after allegations of cheating surfaced. The tests were initially flagged according to the State Department of Education for excessive wrong-to-right answer changes.

The students involved will not be required to "re-test," but those tossed tests will result in zeroes for the school which will impact performance scores a Department of Education spokeswoman said.

A source with direct knowledge of what's going on at the school said red flags went up when a child who couldn't do simple addition scored a "mastery" on the test.

"Somehow when the scores came back he had 'mastery,' and his teacher had said he couldn't even add three-digit numbers," the source said.

The source there said things haven't been right at the school for a while.

"A lot of those students, the teachers have just been passing them through and now it's starting to show," the source said. "Now there are 12 students right there that it came to light."

Baker Superintendent Dr. Herman Brister is out of state and unavailable for an on-camera interview, but he did say the system is working on a corrective action plan. That plan will include a possible reprimand or termination for the adults who are involved. The cheating is currently under investigation.

"It's not a good reflection on us, and it's not a good thing for the teachers and the students to do something like that," former Baker School Board Member Doris Alexander said. "I hope in the end that it was a mistake that was made...and that this is not true."

Alexander is currently a Baker city councilwoman. She believes despite the negative news associated with this cheating, the school system is doing everything it can to educate the children.

"It's very disappointing, because I know Dr. Brister is doing an excellent job," Alexander said. 'I know the school board members are disappointed also. It does not reflect the character of our system."

Meanwhile, sources with inside knowledge of what's been happening believe the adults responsible need to be held accountable.

"They want to see them fired and disciplined," the source said. "It's time they get caught and pay for what's been happening to them."

As a result of the cheating, the state said extra monitoring will take place in Baker next year since it has sites that have had prior issues. Dr. Brister expects the corrective action plan to be submitted to the state by next week.

Bakerfield Elementary has been sharing a campus with Baker Heights Elementary since the 2016 flood.

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