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(AJC) — Investigators chosen by Atlanta’s school system gave only cursory attention to evidence suggesting extensive cheating on standardized tests in more than half the 58 schools they examined.

Seventeen schools suspected of some of the most widespread cheating were barely investigated and, consequently, avoided recommendations for sanctions. Another 14 schools where state officials voiced a moderate concern about cheating received similar treatment. The investigators disregarded testing irregularities in hundreds of Atlanta classrooms.

A commission that studied questionable gains on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, or CRCT, reported this week that alleged cheating seemed to permeate just 12 Atlanta schools, rather than the 58 — more than half the schools in the district — state officials flagged last winter.

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