Board of Ed Sets up Special Meeting to Hear Report on DHS Cheating Incident

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At 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Board of Education will hold a 30-minute special meeting to hear a report from Superintendent Alan Addley about recent exam cheating by some Darien High School sophomores.

The report may or may not fill the gaps in what the public has been told about the incident.

The Special Meeting

The meeting takes place at school district headquarters, 35 Leroy Ave., in the same Board of Education meeting room where regular meetings are held. It will last for half an hour, since a another special meeting of the board, for 7 p.m., has also been posted on the district website.

The agenda for the 6:30 meeting, published on the school district website, describe’s Addley’s report as “Administrative Report on the Recent Testing Irregularities at Darien High School.”

The agenda also includes time for Board Chairperson Tara Ochman to comment and time for the public to comment, although discussion by the board is not on the agenda.

A note at the bottom of the agenda says: “Public Comments are limited to three minutes per individual and are designed to allow community members to inform the Darien Board of Education of their opinions and/or concerns.

“Where appropriate, community members are also encouraged to reach out to the school administration during regular school hours.

“There should be no expectation for dialogue on such public comments to take place at a regular/special public meeting, given that by law the Board may only discuss matters that are set forth on its agenda. ”

What We HAVE Been Told

Here are the main points that DHS Principal Ellen Dunn and two department chairs made in a message to parents of 10th grade students at 6:31 p.m., Friday:

A — The cheating involved exams for both the 200 World Studies and English 10 courses.

B — “[T]he answers to the multiple choice sections of both exams were widely shared within the sophomore class.”

C — Individual students caught cheating in the incidents will be disciplined.

D — School officials couldn’t identify all of the cheating students.

E — New tests will be administered at 7:40 a.m. on Feb. 10 (for the World Studies test) and Feb. 12 (for English 10).

What We Have NOT Been Told

Here are some topics that haven’t been addressed or made clear:

1—Did one student or a group breach security to get the answers?

2—Has that student or have those students been identified?

2—Why were only these two tests the subject of the security breach (or breaches)?

3—Is there any indication that test security was breached with other exams at the school?

4—What was the security breach that allowed a student or students to get the multiple-choice answers on part of each test? How did it happen?

5—What is the school district doing to keep this from happening again?

6—How did school officials find out about the cheating?

7—Will major discrepancies in a student’s first test results result in disciplinary measures if the same student’s results for the retest are significantly worse?

8—What kind of discipline are students getting for this?

9—Why was the wide sharing of the test answers only among Grade 10 students?

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