Terance Shipman, a 10-year teaching veteran, took the stand to defend himself against accusations that he improperly prompted students on the 2009 CRCT, a standardized test students take annually.
Shipman taught second grade at Parkside Elementary School and has since been placed on administrative leave by Atlanta Public Schools.
APS attorneys accused Shipman of telling students to "think really hard" about answers on the test, and that he strayed from the test givers' script.
But Shipman said the test manual allows teachers to use discretion when answering students questions.
"Inside the handbook it says you have the right to make a professional judgement to tell the student if the student asks you a question you have the right to say something like that," he said. "I really wanted to see how my students stacked up against the state."
He also said that Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agents who questioned him forced him to lie.
"The GBI agents were forcing me to say things. They said, 'You know you did things wrong, go ahead and admit it,'" Shipman said.
APS attorneys played a 40-minute recording of part of the interview Tuesday.
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