Montclair Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack informed the school community Sunday night that 14 out of some 60 student assessments were accessed from the password-protected teacher portal.
But the situation may be even worse than originally thought and the assessments could be called off as a result.
"Upon further investigation it seems likely that more of the common assessments designed by our teachers to determine student readiness to meet the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were made available publicly," MacCormack said Monday evening in her latest message to the Montclair Schools community.
"We have launched a full legal investigation to determine how the common assessments came to be posted to an external website without our knowledge and to identify the individual or individuals involved," MacCormack said in the email.
The rest of the message reads:
"As a result, we will be using the assessments in a slightly different way. It is important to note that these assessments were always meant to be used to help us learn how to best support students as we prepare them to meet the new, more rigorous CCSS. Therefore, I am asking our Principals to work with their teacher teams to determine how the assessments can be used to determine student preparation for the major learning standards without attaching student grades. We will also ask that teacher teams (common content area/grade level) be given ample time to meet and share their learning from this work. Finally, teachers will keep parents informed about student progress towards the new standards.
The common assessments were designed to meet several goals including the goal to address student learning needs in connection to the CCSS, state requirements for benchmarking student progress, and the state-approved school improvement plans for our two focus schools (Bullock, Glenfield). In addition, teachers are required to give assessments at regular intervals to be used by teacher teams for meeting student needs and sharing best practices as part of the state-mandated new teacher evaluation system; the common assessments were designed to support teachers in meeting this requirement.
Currently units two, three and four assessments are not posted to the password-protected teacher portal. However, we continue to be concerned that these assessments may become vulnerable to similar threats. With this in mind we will be providing these assessments to teacher teams to be used as models for the development of school-level common assessments aligned to district curriculum and designed to inform student progress to the CCSS."An anonymous video posted to Vimeo Monday afternoon claims responsibility for the leaks, although it could be a hoax.
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