Dept. of Education investigating ISTEP cheating allegations


One of Indiana's largest high schools is under investigation for cheating on a year-end ISTEP exam. The situation came to light because of 13 Investigates, who broke the story to the state Department of Education.

13 Investigates contacted the state last week to let them know what we've discovered. It's evidence of a cheating scandal at North Central High School, and at the center of this controversy, it's not students. It's teachers.

The investigation at this high school now focuses on the actions of staff members and one of the ISTEP End of Course Assessment exams. The security breach involves testing for the past four years.

Student test scores at North Central are going to be affected and the state is now trying to figure out if the cheating could impact other schools and other students all across Indiana.

Wes Bruce with the Indiana Department of Education called it "completely unethical behavior, unacceptable behavior." He added, "We're cheating children."

"There's no excuse for this. If test results have been manipulated in a school district for a number of years, their accreditation status, their grades, under the accountability system, all of that's open to our actions based on the investigation. We will start an investigation when I leave here," he said.

That state investigation is now well underway and the key evidence is inside an envelope that was delivered to Eyewitness News. It includes internal e-mails and notes from staff meetings at North Central High School, and one shocking document that is now at the center of the investigation. Next week, we're going to show you all this evidence, and you'll hear why teachers say when it comes to cases like this one, there's much more you need to know.

The school and the state are trying to determine how many teachers are involved. Based on the documents, the Department of Education says it's looking at the actions of more than one individual. In a case this serious, there's a lot at stake. The teacher could be fired and even lose their teaching license. The investigation will likely be very thorough.

Watch our report next Monday night at 11:00 pm.