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King downplays erasure analysis but signals more could come

The independent investigator who is appointed to scrutinize New York’s testing system will get full view of the limited erasure analysis that has already been done, according to State Education Commissioner John King.

King delivered the message in a letter to district superintendents yesterday that suggested he had fielded worries about the cost and content of a new initiative to bolster test security.

First, King sought to allay concerns about the news, reported by the New York Times this weekend, that erasure analysis detected some test score improprieties.

“Obviously, this was not a large-scale, in-depth pilot of erasure analysis, nor did it rise to the level of a major finding or report,” he wrote, noting that the results of only eight exams were analyzed.

But he said indicated that erasure analysis could be on the horizon as the state continues to weigh initiatives to protect against cheating — and that it would already have been in place if the state had funded the Board of Regents’ recommendation for erasure analysis last year.

“Even this small body of evidence reinforces the larger message of the Department’s comprehensive test integrity review launched in August 2011 shortly after I became Commissioner: we need to take strong steps to ensure the integrity of New York State tests,” King wrote.

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