Documents reveal extensive state investigation into SOL cheating at Petersburg elementary school

Published: Sep. 14, 2017 at 7:28 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 9:11 AM EDT
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Source: Virginia Board of Education
Source: Virginia Board of Education

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Teachers were fired and the principal moved after a state investigation found staffers at A.P. Hill Elementary helped students cheat on the Standards of Learning (SOL) test.

The state was called in to help with the investigation by Petersburg Schools after it learned of potential problems with the testing. The full report was released by the state on Thursday. It is hundreds of pages and includes interviews with the teachers involved, possible witnesses, and even the students who took the tests.

Several students told investigators teachers were walking around during the test and that they had to "raise our hand and the teacher would check to make sure the answer is correct. They would either say check the question again or move on."

That is what the state investigation concluded, that students had to raise a hand after answering questions last spring for a proctor to check their work. If the answer was correct, they could move on.

Investigators also noted how students made "rapid-fire" corrections to wrong answers within minutes before submitting their computerized tests.

In the documents, there are also three different anonymous letters to the Virginia Board of Education, tipping it off to the cheating.

One person wrote, "Each year, I'm told by (name redacted) that teachers help them on their SOL tests."

This week, the state said did not give an accreditation rating to the school. The Virginia Board of Education meets in two weeks to hear more details and vote on formally with-holding accreditation.

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