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Report Digs Into Atlanta Test-Cheating Allegations

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A new report says there's reason to look more closely at, and possibly take disciplinary action against, 109 Atlanta principals, teachers, and other school-based personnel suspected of inflating standardized-test scores.

The state-mandated report was undertaken after investigations found irregularities in dozens of Atlanta elementary schools. The report, issued yesterday, found widespread testing problems in 12 schools and likely cheating at varying levels at 46 other schools, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says.

The fallout over the past few months as the test-score irregularities have been investigated has threatened to tarnish the reputation of schools chief Beverly A. Hall, a former national superintendent of the year. She and her top deputies have been regularly called upon at education conferences across the country over the past three years to present Atlanta's success story.

The report says there was no evidence that Hall or other central-office administrators knew about or encouraged the widespread cheating.

"Our school system must clear this up, the sooner the better," Hall told the Journal-Constitution. Of anyone who is found to have cheated, she said: "We will ferret them out, and the consequences will be severe."

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