State education officials have all but ended their scrutiny of scores of Florida schools, including more than 20 in the Tampa Bay area, that aroused suspicion because of a high number of pre-FCAT student transfers.
Only schools in Polk County remain on a list of 159 schools that were flagged in June because they appeared to have moved struggling students in an effort to boost scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Beyond Polk, "none of the numbers looked funny enough to launch an investigation," DOE spokeswoman Frances Marine said Monday.
The DOE list puzzled area administrators, who said high turnover rates are natural in schools that serve transient, inner-city families or the children of migrant farm workers. Some alternative schools that cater to students with disciplinary problems also were on the list.
When students are moved from one school to another shortly before taking the FCAT, their scores do not count toward either school's grades.
No timetable has been set to conclude the investigation in Polk, where officials say they are stumped by the state's suspicions.