Parents raise concerns over LEAP testing policy

PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Some parents say they are outraged over a state policy that requires students to take an oath before taking the LEAP Test. Students sign a piece of paper promising not to tell anyone what is on the test. A father of a fourth grader in Ascension Parish claims his son was brought to tears.

Jason Bonaventure says his son went into the LEAP exam on Tuesday with high hopes.

"The morning of, we put out little posters and encouragement stuff, cooked him a great little breakfast," Jason Bonaventure said.

Bonaventure says when his boy got home from school he asked what most parents as their children after a big test.

"I said, 'Hey! How do you think you did? And he said, "I did good." Me, working so much with him, I wanted to know more. 'Tell me about test and what was on it', and he was like, 'Dad I cannot tell you what was on it," Bonaventure explained.

Bonaventure says his son's teacher read a set of instructions to the class before the students picked up their pencils. It tells teachers to ask their students to sign a paper that says "I understand that I may receive a zero on this test if..." Several items are listed including, "discuss the test questions at any time with anyone".

Bonaventure was shocked to learn that includes parents.

"I think it's nonsense. There's plenty of ways to do this if they want to maintain security of the test without invading a parent's right to sit down and discuss with his kids anything and everything."

The school principal, Mary McMahan responded, "I am guessing that his teacher was trying to make an impression about how important the test question security was. I apologize if she scared him."

McMahan also states, as per state policy, he can discuss his experience but not the test material.

Bonaventure says he also contacted Chez Diez, a BESE member, who insisted the oath was a longtime policy that the board had no plans of changing.

"They said the only other option is to file a lawsuit against them."

Bonaventure says he hopes BESE will change its policy before it goes that far.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Education stated, "To be fair to all students and ensure the integrity of our testing program, Louisiana has taken a multi-faced approach to test security. We encourage families to actively engage in test-related activities through the various resources we offer. Perhaps the misunderstanding is cause for us to revisit the language or how this expectation is presented to our students."

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.