Statewide in Georgia last year, an alarmingly high 250,000 wrong answers were corrected using an eraser on an exam that determines whether children are meeting the requirements mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to NPR.
Atlanta had the largest share of those suspicious exams, prompting Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to launch an investigation to determine whether educators in the district illegally tampered with the tests.
"This investigation will be both thorough and swift," he told reporters last month.
An internal probe by Atlanta Public Schools earlier this year reviewed 12 schools with the most erasures. Perdue called the investigation "woefully inadequate," in part because more than 50 Atlanta schools had problems with their exams. "It is clear that children, students, weren't fully responsible for the test results assigned to their names," he said, according to CBS Atlanta.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that federal officials are also investigating Atlanta Public Schools, and that education officials may face criminal charges if they are found to have received grant money from test scores that were purposefully inflated. Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta, declined to confirm or deny to AOL News today any such investigation.
The Criterion-Referenced Competency Test evaluates first- through eighth-graders in Georgia in reading, math and language arts. Schools whose students do well on the exams are more likely to receive extra federal grant money; those that don't do well, however, can lose funding.