Fremont Superintendent Speaks Out About ACT, MME Cheating Accusation

Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-14 19:25:16-04

FREMONT, Mich. (April 14, 2014) — The superintendent of Fremont Public Schools is speaking out about the accusation that the high school allowed students to cheat on the ACT and Michigan Merit Exam.

On Monday, Superintendent Jim Hieftje said the claim is putting a tremendous amount of stress on the entire staff.

“The integrity of the district is on the line…the integrity of the diplomas those kids get in another month is on the line,” Hieftje said.  “You wouldn’t do anything like that. You wouldn’t do anything to cheat. I think we’re being unjustly accused.

The allegations surfaced after an anonymous tipster wrote in saying, “They were able to accomplish this by using school provided calculators that had a file downloaded onto them name ‘ACT Help Information.'”

The person then sent in photos of what they said are the exact calculators used during the tests.

While Hieftje admits that those calculators were used on the tests, he said according to ACT regulations they’re allowed.

Some calculators may have mathematical formulas printed on the calculators itself…this is permitted,” Hieftje said. “The calculators in question had those formulas on them, but again, coming right from the ACT.”

On Thursday, a Michigan Department of Education spokesperson told FOX 17 that the accusations are ‘very serious’ and that the state has opened a formal investigation. Hieftje said they’re cooperating and that he’s not been given a timeline for when this investigation should come to a close.

“Nor do I have anything, and I think this is also instructive, that tells us why we’re being investigated…and if it comes down to an anonymous email I find some real problems with that.”

Hieftje said upon hearing about the allegations he immediately called the principal into a meeting. He said the principal then went back to the math department to discuss the protocol of using calculators on the tests. Hieftje said the principal even called ACT confirming no rules were broken by using the calculators.

“I’m more concerned about people understanding that Fremont Public Schools is an institution that has a high degree of integrity,” Hieftje said.  “I think that should be restored…and for that, quite frankly news media, we need to count on them to tell the truth…when that comes out I think this too shall pass.”

MDE didn’t release any other details on the investigation as of Monday night.