- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A former fourth-grade teacher in northeastern Nebraska is facing a yearlong suspension from teaching for correcting punctuation and capitalization errors on some of her students’ statewide writing tests.

Michelle Jacobsen, who was also the district assessment coordinator for Allen Consolidated Schools, resigned in August after a school investigation showed she made the changes on eight of her students’ rough draft portions of the test.

The exam for fourth-graders is a two-day process. Students first write rough drafts and then write their responses to a prompt in the test booklet.

In January, a student’s mother called a principal, saying that her son told her that Jacobson changed his rough draft, according to documents filed with the Nebraska Department of Education’s professional practices commission.

School officials investigated and found that Jacobsen had altered tests the year before too. Officials say Jacobsen admitted to changing the tests because she felt pressure for her students to do well.

Exaxm results are published in the annual “State of the Schools” report and are sent to the federal education department, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1Ek77GN ) reported. Allen school officials notified the state about the incident, and the district’s fourth-grade writing tests results were tossed.

A phone number listed for a Michelle Jacobsen in Allen was out of service.

The professional practices commission voted in October to recommend a yearlong suspension of Jacobsen’s teaching certificate. The state’s education board will vote Friday on whether to approve the suggested penalty.

Allen school officials said in a report to the state education department that they were disappointed in Jacobsen’s actions. They said they pride themselves on “being a district that holds professionalism and integrity in high regards.”


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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