(USATODAY) — A decade ago, Hopeville Elementary School was one of the worst performing schools in Waterbury, Conn., 30 miles west of Hartford. So when Michael Puffer, an education reporter at the Republican-American, noticed in July that many of Hopeville’s classrooms had achieved perfect, 100% proficiency on the Connecticut Mastery Test, he was suspicious.

Puffer’s investigation, along with a handful of strongly worded editorials, eventually persuaded state investigators to take a closer look. In September, they concluded that the “extreme rise” in scores was due in part to educator-led cheating. A retest yielded plummeting scores, and this month, the principal resigned.

Sound familiar?

By the time it’s over, 2011 may well go down as the Year of the Test Scandal.

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