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Regents Exam Cheating Scandal Hits Poughkeepsie City School District

Did They Get Help? Officials: 11 Students Probed For Unrealistic Improvement
Poughkeepsie High School (Photo: CBS 2)

Poughkeepsie High School (Photo: CBS 2)

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s another scandal brewing in New York State. This one involves allegations of cheating on Regents exams. Dramatically improved test scores first drew suspicion, and now an investigation is in full swing.

High school students may have gotten under-the-table help during a recent round of state Regents exams. A move, sources told CBS 2’s Lou Young on Friday, that could’ve been a misplaced act of compassion in a high-pressure environment.

“They think kids don’t have a lot of pressure because like we’re kids, but it takes a lot of studying and stuff to get ready for the Regents,” Poughkeepsie High School student Demaris Martinez said.

The city schools superintendent has launched an investigation after 11 troubled students showed sudden, remarkable, and unrealistic improvements when they took the exam for the second time.

“A student for example had got a 49 on a previous exam and jumped to an 82. Another student who had gotten a 47 on a previous exam and the score jumped to a 77,” Dr. Laval Wilson said.

If you went to school in New York you probably remember the regents exams, the No. 2 pencil, the multiple choice questions; page after page of material; a room full of students all taking the same test at the same time with proctors walking back and forth keeping watch. The clock was always running and you had to finish the test in the allotted time. The students in question in Poughkeepsie apparently got extra time and that’s not allowed.

Both the principal and the assistant principal have taken administrative leave, with their jobs on the line. The students also have something at stake.

“It could be that some scores are vacated. It may be that those students will have to re-take those exams,” Dr. Wilson said.

Whether it was move to inflate test scores or an attempt to help a few struggling teens, the superintendent said it is a very serious matter. He promised that it’ll be resolved before the end of the school year.

If the test scores are thrown out several high school seniors could be denied graduation diplomas.

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