By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- School district officials are looking into how exactly the security surrounding an FCAT writing test was compromised at the Marine Oceanographic Academy, a special honor program within Fort Pierce Westwood High School.
According to reports, on Feb. 25 a student at the school told to an instructor that the students knew the writing prompt for the test before they took it.
"We have extremely rigorous training and procedural safeguards in place for test security," said Michael Lannon, superintendent of school for St. Lucie County. "Unfortunately, a breach of security did occur."
The compromise was reported to the Florida Department of Education, and the school district immediately began a district-level investigation into the incident.
The effect of the breach is that the 78 tests taken by the tenth-grade students at the school have been invalidated, but the district stated that the students would not be affected additionally from the event.
"This action is solely to protect the validity of the FCAT writing scores, and will not impact the students' promotion, graduation or transcripts in any way," stated Janice Karst, director of communications for St. Lucie County Schools.
In a letter written to the Florida Department of Education's Bureau of K-12 Assessment, the district stated the steps it took to begin the investigation, including interviewing the students and instructional staff involved, as well as holding a conference with all the administration involved and sending out notices to the parents of all the students involved.