FCAT Cheating Investigation

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Jefferson County Middle and High Schoolers have not received their writing FCAT scores yet. School officials say that's because of an ongoing cheating investigation by the Department of Education.

Florida schools take the FCAT seriously,. preparing for months before the big exam.

"We pull practice prompts from all over. Our department of Ed. holds training themselves. We have lots of prompts that come out of those trainings. The reading coaches within county to county share the prompts. We steal every prompt we can off the web, because we want the students to be able to practice, practice, practice," says Sherry Heyen, the Executive Director of School Improvement in Jefferson County.

But in Jefferson County, some say one of the practice exams, called prompts, looked all too similar to the actual exam. Two anonymous phone calls and a fax led to an investigation.

Jefferson County school officials say that investigation is the reason their test results weren't released with everyone else. But they say they've reviewed all protocols.

"We had no evidence that anyone looked at or tampered with any of the assessments," adds Heyen.

"I just hope everything is vindicated, every thing's going to be okay. I hope nothing is found," says Jefferson County resident Venessa Eldewer.

School officials say once the Department of Education completes its investigation, they expect the schools to be cleared of any wrongdoing.
It's not yet clear when the Department of Education will complete its investigation. Until then, the outcome of the test results will remain uncertain.


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