2 former Philadelphia School District principals charged with PSSA cheating

PHILAELPHIA (WPVI) -- Two former Philadelphia School District principals have been arrested for allegedly changing answers on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) from wrong-to-right to boost test scores, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced Thursday.

Barbara McCreery, former principal at Communications Technology High School, and Arthur "Larry" Melton, former principal at Edward W. Bok Technical High School ("Bok"), are charged with one count each of tampering with public records or information, forgery, and tampering with records or identification.

A grand jury found that McCreery created an answer key to change incorrect answers on the PSSA through and including the administration of the 2010 test. According to the attorney general's office, the school's math and reading scores increased exponentially.

Melton also allegedly created an answer sheet he used to change wrong answers on the tests, which was demonstrated in PSSA scoring for Bok because test scores dropped after the practice ended.

According to the grand jury, Melton placed students into three groups based on how he believed they would perform: well, poorly, and those he referred to as on the "cusp," and corrected answers for the latter group so the school would make Annual Yearly Progress.

McCreery and Melton were taken into custody Thursday.

The arrests are the latest in the Office of Attorney General's ongoing investigation into widespread cheating in the Philadelphia School District and elsewhere in the state.

Anyone with information regarding suspected cheating on standardized tests in Pennsylvania is encouraged to call the Office of Attorney General at 610-631-5987.
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