D.C. school officials say that security for this year’s DC CAS, which began Tuesday, has never been more rigorous. But with questions surrounding elevated erasure rates on some answer sheets in previous years, it’s worth noting that DCPS won’t be picking up this spring’s completed tests until next Thursday, April 14. That means reading and math exams finished Tuesday will remain at schools -- and perhaps at risk for tampering--for nine days, including this weekend.

Officials originally gave schools a choice of April 14, 18 or 19 for “ship out” dates. Those last two fall during spring break. Last week data and assessment chief Erin McGoldrick advised schools that everything had to be packed and ready for shipping on the 14th “to maintain the highest level of test security.” A DCPS “guidance document” for schools requires that exams remain locked in a secure storage area, with only the school principal and school testing chairperson allowed to have keys.

Tamara Reavis, acting director of assessment and accountability for OSSE, which oversees test administration, said in an e-mail Wednesday afternoon: “Similar to other states, the District of Columbia’s test window allows for adequate make-up testing and packing of materials. OSSE is taking the additional step of placing monitors in schools to ensure the materials are being stored and handled properly.”