Report: Protocols not followed during testing at Richmond elemen - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Report: Protocols not followed during testing at Richmond elementary school

Proper protocols were not followed during the initial testing. (Source: NBC12) Proper protocols were not followed during the initial testing. (Source: NBC12)
Kiwana Yates is no longer principal at Carter Elementary following issues with SOL testing. (Source: Richmond Public Schools) Kiwana Yates is no longer principal at Carter Elementary following issues with SOL testing. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

An investigation led by the Virginia Department of Education has found that proper protocols have not been followed for several years during Standards of Learning exams at Carver Elementary School.

The investigation was prompted after school board and community members expressed concern in regards to students having high SOL scores in elementary school but go on to fail in middle school. 

Principal Kiwana Yates and teachers at Carver who were involved in the improper testing are still employed by the school district, sources said this week. Disciplinary action discussions for the more than half dozen teachers and administrators involved will move forward, according to sources close to the investigation.

Yates has been on administrative leave during the two-month investigation.

Administrators were waiting for Monday's report before making personnel decisions.

The report details how Yates is accused of selecting the same group of teachers to administer SOL tests, whom she believed would help students select the correct answers. Those teachers were noted as then being given perks, like opportunities to work extra hours.

A meeting regarding Carver Elementary's PTA and its leadership is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at 1103 West Marshall Street. A community meeting with Superintendent Jason Kamras is set for Wednesday, to discuss the SOL cheating report.

Kamras issued the following statement in part: 

The report is deeply troubling. It presents abundant evidence of what amounts to cheating by a small group of adults on the SOL examinations for the past several years at Carver. To be clear: our students did nothing wrong; they merely followed the instructions of the adults responsible for them.

Cheating is unacceptable. Full stop. Above all else, my administration will be one of integrity – which, as one of my favorite elementary teachers so aptly put it, means doing the right thing even when no one is looking. We ask this of our students; the least we can do is model it ourselves.

The Virginia Department of Education's investigation found several breaches in the testing protocol including: 

  • Students reported receiving help from adults during the exam. 
  • Examiners and proctors did not follow proper procedure in administering the tests according to the manual. 
  • Read-aloud accommodation was given to students who did not have the need documented. 
  • Test questions were also read aloud to students in the same room as others who did not need the accommodation, along with testing material being read to students who did not have those questions.  

During the investigation, students told officials about what would happen in the classroom during the exams. 

In order to prevent this in the future, examiners and proctors are to be retrained on how to give the exams. The Virginia Department of Education staff will also oversee Carver employees giving the exams.

"Now that we can unequivocally call testing irregularities for what it is, i.e. cheating; we have a responsibility to every child in RPS to hold those responsible accountable and to ensure that none of our other schools have any similar lapses in ethics," said Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young. 

The Virginia Department of Education's full report can be read below. 

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