By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham City Schools is currently investigating reports of potential testing irregularities at two of its 43 schools and has handed over information about the matter to the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), according to the school system on Friday.
The two schools are Henry Jefferson Oliver Elementary School in Birmingham’s Oak Ridge Park neighborhood and Malachi Wilkerson Middle School in East Thomas.
Both the school system and board intend to comply with any potential investigation from ALSDE, said a press release titled “Statement from Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark A. Sullivan.”
“We anticipate an investigation by ALSDE. The Birmingham Board of Education will support the investigation, and the district will provide any requested documents. If the investigation reveals any improprieties, the board will take appropriate action,” Sullivan said in the release.
After any state review is completed, BCS said it will make the report public and detail any applicable actions in response to the findings.
“Our school district has made significant strides in student achievement, and transparency is central to the progress we have achieved. We take our responsibility to our students very seriously,” Sullivan said.
School officials said they were transparent throughout the entire process which included notifying parents as well as state officials. The release did not detail what specific standardized tests where the irregularities were found.
News of the investigation comes the same week that city students return to school for the 2023-24 school year, the first year in which the Alabama Literacy Act, which passed in 2019 to help improve reading in the state’s public schools, takes effect.
At the end of this school year, third graders not reading at grade level will not move on to fourth grade, unless administrators can document their progress through good cause. One third of Oliver Elementary’s third graders were not reading on grade level by the end of the 2022-23 school year, according to results released last week by the ALSDE.