Reacting to the threatened cutoff of millions of dollars from the state, officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers-Los Angeles tentatively agreed Wednesday to a set of procedures that would end a teacher boycott of standardized testing.
The agreement would enable the district to meet a state deadline for giving high school seniors the California Assessment Program test, which all districts are required to administer every year in December. The teacher boycott of all standardized tests was called two months ago after district officials said teachers had tampered with exam answers on tests in recent years.
"We did hammer out a set of procedures we feel will protect teachers from any unfounded accusations of cheating on the test," said United Teachers-Los Angeles spokeswoman Catherine Carey.
Union officials reiterated, however, that they would like the district to apologize for giving the public the impression that teachers were responsible for the test tampering.
Richard K. Mason, special counsel for the school district, said Wednesday that he was "confident" that the procedures would be formally accepted by the district late today.)
Citing teachers' refusal to handle the exams, district officials had sought state permission to delay giving the test. But state Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig on Tuesday told the district and the union that if the test was not administered on time, the state might withhold millions of dollars in aid and take legal action against the teachers.
According to state Department of Education officials, the high school test must be given between Monday and Dec. 16, with no exceptions permitted.
According to Carey, district and union representatives, who met for several hours Wednesday, have agreed that whenever possible, administrators will give the test instead of teachers.
In most schools, where the test is given by teachers in their classrooms, the district will require that a second teacher be present during the testing. Also, an administrator will collect the student answer books and seal them in a secure packet.
State Education Department and district officials disclosed in September that at least 50 elementary schools statewide--including 24 in the Los Angeles district--tampered with students' answers on the annual test over the last three years.
District officials initially said teachers had been involved in the tampering but later said that they did not know who was responsible. A law firm was hired by the district in October to try to determine who changed students' answer books.