NJ ASK Investigation Indicated ‘Probability Of Assistance’ But No Corrective Action Plan

In September, the Investigative Report prepared by the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) released its findings on its investigation of  4th grade 2012 NJ ASK irregularities at EJF/Aldene School. While the report, OFAC Case #INV-085-14, ‘indicated the probability of assistance’, OFAC ‘did not conclude that any breaches in procedures occurred in the district’ according to Roselle Park School District Superintendent Pedro Garrido.

During the October 6th Board Of Education (BOE) meeting, Superintendent Garrido read the following prepared statement:

The Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance, better known as OFAC, initiated an investigation in the district in the fall of 2013 with respect to the testing procedures utilized on the 2012 New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge – better known as NJ ASK – in Grade 4 at Aldene Elementary School. The Roselle Park School District fully complied with OFAC’s requests for documentation and the investigation was completed on September 16th, 2015. The review was initiated in response to irregularities in student answer patterns during the test administration. The investigation included a review of district testing procedures and interviews with staff members and students.

The investigators conducted interviews with eight (8) staff members and 23 students who participated in the 2012 NJ ASK at Aldene and reviewed the testing data provided by the testing company as well as the test administration documents provided by the district.

OFAC concluded that although staff members and students interviewed did not provide substantial evidence of assistance during the examination, the high ‘Wrong-To-Right erasure rates’ along with unusual testing gains from 2011 to 2012 indicated the probability of assistance. Based on the results of the investigation, OFAC determined that the district would not be issued a Corrective Action Plan and following its review, OFAC did not conclude that any breaches in procedures occurred in the district.

It was further determined that, based on the information gathered throughout the investigation, the case will be closed and the matter will not be forwarded to the Board Of Examiners for further review. A copy of the report will be placed on the district’s website. Again, this matter is now closed and no further action is required by the district.

According to the cover letter of the actual report, OFAC Director Robert J. Cicchino stated that a determination could not be made whether a breach occurred during the administration of the 2012 NJ ASK at Aldene. Additionally, the report concluded that the unusual gains from 2011 to 2012 indicated the probability of assistance, either during or subsequent to testing and that further review of the data disclosed that a small number of teachers exhibited a substantial number of Wrong-To-Right erasures in excess of four Standard Deviations above the statewide mean.

The BOE did have an opportunity to appeal the finding but opted not to, apparently since no Corrective Action Plan was issued.

A copy of OFAC’s cover letter and Investigative Report is available below for review/download/print:

Download File (PDF)