In Board of Education lingo, it's known as a "bubble sheet." It's the piece of paper where students mark their answers to the city's multiple-choice math and reading tests by filling in the bubble next to the letters, A, B, C, or D.
Correspondent Marcia Kramer of WCBS in New York reports that some teachers are manipulating the answers to improve their children's test scores.
A former teacher at Community Elementary School 88 in the South Bronx, explained to WCBS how teachers would fake the grade on city tests. She agreed to talk to WCBS only if she was not identified.
She said teachers would give a student a sheet of paper and have the child write the answers on the paper first. Later, the teacher would check to make sure the answers were correct and then have the child transfer the correct answers on the bubble sheet.
For at least three years, CES 88 has had the best scores in the District on the citywide math and reading scores that Chancellor Rudy Crew puts so much stock in.
The teacher said she left the school after only one year because she was outraged that school officials were ordering her to manipulate the test scores.
But before she left, she took some incriminating evidence with her. She took the actual pieces of loose-leaf paper that she had the children write their test answers on before entering them on the computerized answer sheets.
The sheets clearly show where the students erased the original answers or crossed them out after she had coached them.
The teacher admitted she had one child change the answers to 25 of the 65 questions on the test.
Teacher Stacy Moskowitz said the same thing is done at CES 90, another school in the South Bronx. She explained how teachers there helped their students cheat on their tests.
"The teacher would say this is not right, change your answer to the right answer. This is A or B or whatever," she said.
But that's not the only way that students are manipulated into getting higher grades. Assistant principal Sidney Goldstein said teachers also conduct "sample questions" and have children enter those answers on the sheet.
"If you do the first 10 questions as samples, you know the kid is starting out with 10 correct," he said.
Students are also tricked in another way, said Goldstein. He explained that most of the answer sheets sent by the Board of Education have the child's name pre-printed on them but the board also sends lots of blank sheets in case the child's name wasn't on the class list in time. The trick, Goldstein aid, is for the teachers to fill in the pre-printed sheets themselves.
"If you hand the kid a blank answer and you fill in his pre-slugged, and then you take the answer sheet that he took the test on and then destroy it, and you submit the pre-slugged answer sheet - the kid is going to coast the test."
School Special Prosecutor Edward Stacik has opened a full-scale investigation into teachers who manipulate their children into cheating.
Crew, the chancellor, has ordered an immediate overhaul of testing procedures to reduce test tampering by teachers and principals - this includes shortening the period of time the tests are in the schools before being given, and sending more monitors into schools on test days.