Teacher accused of giving state test answers

HIGHLAND, Ill. - A local teacher is accused of changing scores and giving answers on Illinois achievement tests.

NewsChannel 5 has learned 11 students have now come forward, all pointing the finger at the same teacher at the Highland School District. A report just obtained by NewsChannel 5 reveals that the district is taking the students' allegations seriously.

"I'm surprised it happened here," said Bob Theriac, resident of Highland.

The unidentified teacher is accused of asking students to change their answers on the ISAT, or the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, last March. School officials aren't saying where the cheating happened, but the test is given to students in third through eighth grades.

Freshman Archie Schwehr says this is first he's heard of the cheating and is shocked to learn it happened in his district.

"I've never wanted help on any of my tests because I want to see my ability," said Schwehr.

The documents also address a possible motive for the teacher's misconduct reading, "The administration finds the students testimony to be more credible than yours due to the fact that you did have a motive to engage in such conduct."

That motive? Better scores from students meant the teacher was doing a better job. The teacher received a "remedial warning," meaning they have to change their ways, be on their best behavior, and go through training.

"I think that's ludicrous, because the teacher knew what they were doing, they did it intentionally and they should be fired," said Theriac.

"I believe that everybody should have a second chance, that's just my beliefs," said Barbara Roberson, grandmother of a district student.

The Highland School District's superintendent would not do an on-camera interview. The school district has turned over the report to the Illinois State Board of Education.


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