Lehighton addresses test cheating
Lehighton Area Middle School administrators on Monday addressed their investigation of a “cheating situation” on an eighth-grade science test in March.
Stephen Ebbert, middle school dean of students, said the administration was made aware of the situation by an eighth-grade teacher, and an investigation started immediately. While the administration couldn’t share specific details of what happened, a parent, Karla Costenbader-Kovach, said a student was able to access a FOSS (Full-Option Science System) curriculum program and get answers to a test.
“My son and three others received zeros for the science test while 15-20 other students who received the test and answers by text or paper copy were allowed to take a different version of the science test for full credit,” Costenbader-Kovach said. “After I complained the situation was unfair to the four students receiving zeros the principal and dean of students offered the four students to write a cheating essay for 50 percent of a test grade.”
Out of privacy concerns for the students, Ebbert and middle school Principal Floyd Brown said they would not discuss individual disciplinary matters.
The two did outline how the investigation went forward.
“Names were provided to us and students were given the opportunity to provide their side of the story,” Ebbert said. “Based on the situation, all of the students were treated fairly. There were many different considerations here based on each individual student’s involvement.”
Costenbader-Kovach said she was not pleased with the outcome and has contacted an attorney regarding the situation. Her son, she said, received a 60 on his most recent report card due to the zero score on the test.
“I feel taxpayers should be made aware of this incident for administration to be pushed into looking at how an eighth-grade student could make a teacher’s account when we pay big bucks for this FOSS account,” she said.
Brown said Lehighton reached out to the publisher of the program regarding steps to take moving forward.
“They are putting things in place to better secure their site and to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” he said. “This was a very unfortunate situation, but we feel it was handled in the most fair way possible.”