ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Public Education Department is investigating allegations of "irregularities" on a high-stakes test at one of Albuquerque's top high schools.
The Department spent Thursday at La Cueva High School, questioning students about what they did - and what a teacher did - when they took the Standard Based Assessments last month.
The SBA can ultimately decide whether a student will graduate. It's also used to grade schools on their performance.
There's a whole rule list on just how those tests are supposed to be administered.
Students aren't supposed to even use the restroom without an escort.
But now, there are questions about whether La Cueva followed the rules when it came to breaks during the exams.
Sometimes we get breaks in the middle of the test and some people can just walk around, telling each other what they did," said junior Matt Miller. "If they had a problem on the test they didn't get, someone could easily tell them the answer and they could go back in and finish up later."
Miller says he and other students got breaks in the middle of test sessions – making it all too easy for students to exchange answers, then come back and make changes.
"Yeah, I thought it was pretty weird, because you could easily pass the test if you had people telling you answers," he said.
It's unclear just how many teachers may be doing this – but on Thursday, the principal sent an email to teachers, alerting them that the school was being investigated about one particular group of students.
The email also said the school would communicate with parents about the issue – but none of the parents we talked to knew anything about the allegations.
"Everybody in this community has a right to ask what happened - is it right or is it wrong. It's our money," Gail Machenbier said. "If our kids are doing something that's not up-to-snuff, then we need to deal with that as well as the school does."
Principal Todd Resch would not return calls for comment.
APS says it was one of La Cueva's teachers who alerted them to the allegations – but they wouldn't comment beyond that, saying it's the Education Department's investigation.
The Education Department refused to give details on the investigation.
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