Skyline principal's letter by BayAreaNewsGroup

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									Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear Skyline High School Community,

I hope you are enjoying the summer. I hate to intrude upon your break with sobering news, but current events
require that I provide an update on an issue that is negatively impacting our school community.

Some of you know that the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the agency responsible for managing the
Advance Placement (AP) testing program, received complaints about Skyline’s administration of the 2011
exam. Specifically, charges of “testing irregularities” prompted an ETS investigation into the proctoring of the
exam and a review of the tests themselves. As a result of this investigation, receipt of some scores has been
delayed and other test results have been invalidated due to what the ETS considers evidence of cheating.

This assessment is devastating to me personally and I want express my extreme regret over the finding that
cheating occurred during the AP testing. I’d also like to apologize to those students, families and staff who have
been affected and to those members of the Skyline community who may have been tainted in the process.
Finally, I’d like to provide some additional context, a basic timeline of what’s occurred since the test
administration, and the corrective action we are taking to guard against this in the future.

During the week of May 16, 2011, a representative from ETS informed Skyline administration that the
organization had received a phone call and an email alleging that “irregularities” occurred during the AP testing
process at Skyline High School. At the time, we informed ETS that we followed the same process in 2011 that
was used during previous administrations of the AP tests, specifically that our students took the exams at
Merritt College, where the tests were proctored by non-AP school staff.

Subsequently, ETS notified us that it had received continuing complaints. In response, ETS sent an investigator
to Skyline High School during the week of May 31, 2011. The ETS investigator explained the complaints and
the procedure for investigating them.

In the investigation, we detailed our process, complied with all requests and led the ETS investigator through
the testing rooms and other relevant facilities. During this time, we explained that:

   1. The AP Testing process at Skyline High School in 2011 was the same process used in the last several
   2. The AP Testing rooms were basically the same rooms used over the last several years.
   3. The AP Testing Coordinator, along with the entire Skyline Administrative Team, was brand new to the
      school this year and, unfortunately, did not take part in the AP Testing Coordinator training offered by

Skyline High School cooperated fully with the ETS investigator’s requests. He interviewed the AP Testing
Coordinator, the proctors of the AP exams and other individuals who assisted with testing room set-up. Further,
Skyline High School made available random students (of his choice) to be interviewed.

After the ETS Investigator interviewed all parties, he conducted an exit interview with the administration in
which he explained the following conclusions:

   1.   There was no indication of “pervasive” cheating by students.
   2.   There was no evidence of “malicious intent” with regard to AP Testing at Skyline High School.
   3.   This was not the first investigation the investigator has made at Skyline High School.
   4.   The AP Testing Coordinator should have gone through the AP Testing Coordinator training.
   5.   Proctors did not meet all AP Testing guidelines.
   6.   Some AP Testing rooms were too small to meet AP Testing guidelines.
   7.   According to AP Testing guidelines, students were sitting too close together.
   8.   Skyline High School cooperated fully with the ETS investigator.
   9.   Skyline High School took note of all non-compliance issues to ensure full compliance during the 2011-
        2012 testing process.

From the end of the investigation in June 2011 to July 2011, Skyline High School received no word from ETS
concerning AP testing. In early July 2011, teachers began to look for AP Test results and noticed that Skyline
High School scores were not present. Concerned by this discovery, administration immediately contacted ETS
to inquire.

At the time of that call, ETS provided little information other than to say that all Skyline High School tests were
being “examined.” Later in the same week, ETS responded to an inquiry by saying the results would be posted
soon. Finally, during the week of July 18, 2011, a conversation with ETS yielded the following explanations:

   1. ETS informed Skyline High School, July 21, 2011 that AP Test scores would be available to students on
      Friday, July 22, 2011.
   2. ETS determined that cheating did, in fact, occur during AP Testing
   3. ETS would not share the number of students nor identify the students who had been determined to cheat.
   4. ETS indicated that they would work with individual families of those students whose AP Test scores
      were determined to be invalid due to its findings of cheating.

This report is very disheartening and we are saddened by the ETS findings. We are, however, determined to
meet all compliance requirements mandated by ETS and the College Board in the future. We accept
responsibility for the non-compliance issues uncovered by the ETS and fully understand our important role in
ensuring the integrity of AP Testing and the testing process. Similarly, we will work very hard with students to
make sure that they understand their responsibility in the AP testing process. We apologize for the mistakes
made in this regard and the negative impact they presented for our community.
We have been working with ETS to try to determine the impact of the testing irregularities and to seek redress
for students. Although we are still gathering information in this area, we now know that:

   •   ETS is sending a letter on July 26 explaining its actions and potential next steps for affected students and
   •   Only students who did not get a score will receive the letter.
   •   30 students did not receive scores but only those exams which would have received a score of 3, 4 or 5
       (the level at which some schools award college credit or allow students to bypass entry-level courses)
       were withheld.
   •   All students who did not receive a score will be able to retake the test.
   •   There will be no charge for retaking the exam.
   •   ETS will notify colleges that the students’ scores have been delayed but will not indicate whether new
       scores are forthcoming; that is the responsibility of the student.

Should the situation change or more information become available, we will update you promptly. In the
meantime, should you have further questions or require any assistance from Skyline High School, please do not
hesitate to contact me directly.


Troy E. Johnston
Principal Skyline High School

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