OKLAHOMA teacher accused of test misconduct

Wednesday, August 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State Superintendent Sandy Garrett has filed a complaint alleging an Oklahoma City elementary school teacher broke state law regarding testing procedures.

The complaint contends that Winifred Fitz, 52, gave third-grade students worksheets that mirrored their state-mandated test.

Fitz, a teacher at North Highland Math and Science Academy, has worked in Oklahoma City elementary schools since 1982.

The complaint said Fitz was serving as a test monitor in another teacher's classroom as students were taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which is required of all Oklahoma third-grade students.

After the first day of testing, Fitz ``looked ahead in the testing booklet to see what types of questions were going to be asked,'' the complaint says.

The complaint says Fitz admitted during an internal investigation by Oklahoma City School District officials that she then made worksheets based on that information and passed them out to students.

The worksheet information, the complaint alleges, was identical or near-identical to questions on the test.

State law forbids anyone from teaching test items to students or providing answers to test questions.

John Williams, Fitz's attorney at the Oklahoma Education Association, described Fitz as a dedicated teacher who values teaching and learning.

``We're not admitting that anything improper was done, but if something improper did happen she didn't have any evil or unlawful intent.''

Williams said he and Fitz will appear before the state board at a hearing Sept. 20. If the allegations are found to be true, Fitz could lose her teaching certificate and be fined up to $2,500.