HAZARD – One of three remaining investigations into alleged cheating on past ACT exams in Perry County was closed and the case dismissed last week during a meeting of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB).
The board, which handles the certification of educators in Kentucky, initially opened five investigations in Perry County after a separate inquiry by the ACT company, which administers college entrance exams at high schools across the nation, determined that several tests at Perry Central High School had been altered by someone other than the students in 2009 and 2010.
Those tests were thrown out, and students at the school were given the option to retake the exam as a result.
The case heard by the board last week was opened against former Perry Central Principal Estill Neace, who was working as the school’s principal at the time ACT alleged the tests were altered.
ACT forwarded the results of their investigation to the Kentucky Department of Education and the EPSB. According to a records obtained by the Herald in 2010, no specific individuals were named as being responsible for the compromised tests.
During ACT’s investigation, however, the company excluded five people from administering or handling testing materials while the inquiry was ongoing, including Mr. Neace. According to Alicia Sneed, legal counsel for the EPSB, cases were opened against each of those five people.
“When the board first received the information from KDE and ACT, the board opened cases against individuals prohibited from participating in testing, and our investigation then was to see if there was any wrongdoing on the parts of the individuals,” Sneed explained, adding that “wrongdoing” could include neglect of duty, or anything within the board’s disciplinary statutes.
The case against Mr. Neace, which was the third that the board has heard so far, was dismissed and no action was taken against his certification during their meeting on March 5.
The two previous investigations resulted in the suspension of certificates for two employees of Perry County Schools during the board’s January meeting. Two more cases remain open, and Sneed noted that it is the goal of the board to close those cases as soon as possible, but she could not say when that may be.
The EPSB is currently scheduled to meet again on May 22.