Former Broward teacher’s license suspended amid cheating allegation

A former Broward teacher accused of helping students cheat on a high-stakes standardized test won’t be allowed to teach for at least another year.

Kerry Betts, 45, was a third-grade teacher at Heron Heights Elementary in Parkland in April 2022 when state officials say she gave answers to students on the Florida Standards Assessment Test, the state’s main standardized test at the time.

After an investigation, the state Education Practices Commission announced Aug. 3 that Betts’ teaching license will be suspended for a year, making her ineligible to teach in the state. She also will face two years’ probation and take a class in education ethics to get her license back, according to the state complaint.

Betts could not be reached for comment, despite attempts by phone.

She resigned from the school district in May 2022, citing a family obligation, district spokeswoman Cathleen Brennan said.

A few weeks earlier, on March 30, 2022, she signed a “2022 Test Administrator Prohibited Activities Agreement” for the Florida Standards Assessment, according to the complaint.

She agreed “not to open and look through test booklets, not to read test items, not to read student responses, not to coach students during test taking, not to assist students in answering test items and not to give students verbal cues.”

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She also agreed “not to explain passages or test items to students, not to change or interfere with student responses to test items and not to cause the achievement of schools to be inaccurately reported.”

However, on April 6, 2022, while administering the reading portion of the test, Betts read through test booklets, reviewed student answers and pointed out items that students had answered incorrectly, suggesting that students revisit those questions, the complaint said.

“In some cases, [Betts] told students that their answers were wrong and/or pointed out correct answers to students,” the complaint said.

As a result, all reading scores for the class were invalidated, the complaint said. The report does not say how the state found out she was assisting students during the test.

Betts was a teacher with the school district since 2018. She made about $47,800 during her last year on the job.