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Atlanta newspaper sheds light on suspicious test score shifts in Beaumont and Nederland ISD's

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The Beaumont and Nederland school districts find themselves on the defensive after an Atlanta newspaper included them on a list of schools with suspicious patterns in test scores.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution's analysis does not directly allege cheating, but flags inconsistencies in test scores that should be investigated.

The newspaper's study stems from the cheating scandal at Atlanta's public schools that has led to the indictments of 35 educators, including the former superintendent.

In the analysis, published this week, the Atlanta newspaper examined test results for 69,000 schools in 49 states, and found what the newspaper referred to as "high concentrations of suspect scores" in 196 districts.  Among them, Beaumont and Nederland ISD's.

BISD School Trustee Janice Brassard responded to the findings by saying, "Everybody has been saying how horrible our district is, now suddenly someone is picking on us because we're good."

In her eight years, on the school board, Brassard says there's only been one time the board has investigated a cheating allegation, and she says it proved to be unfounded.

She says the district takes precautions to ensure the integrity of the process.

Brassard told us, "The campuses are closed to visitors during testing, the teachers administering the tests do not test their own classes, and the administrators for the district actually monitor the campuses."

We attempted to talk to Nederland ISD Superintendent Robert Madding, but his secretary told us he wanted to review the newspaper's analysis before commenting.

But two board members say they've never dealt with cheating allegations involving educators.

Board President Jesse Branick attributes the improved test scores to a curriculum change a few years ago.

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