The principal of a Chester County elementary school retired this week after district officials said he let students cheat on a standardized test.

Mark Ransford, principal at Chadds Ford Elementary School, called 12 students who left questions blank on their Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests to his office and gave extra time to finish, according to John Sanville, superintendent of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.

While the test isn't timed, booklets cannot be returned once students turn them in. Sanville said the students were not helped while finishing the test.

He declined to discuss why Ransford gave the students extra time, other than to say the principal was aware of the rules and that he did not think "there was an intention to do anything wrong."

"We sent a message out to our families, to our parents," Sanville said. "We've been talking and answering questions and working with them as we move forward, because this was a surprise to everyone."

Ransford, who has been with the district for about seven years, retired Monday. He could not be reached for comment.

While his retirement starts July 1, he will be on administrative leave for the rest of the school year and will collect sick and vacation pay during that time, Sanville said.

The tests were given during the week of March 31. Sanville said staff contacted the district, initiating an internal investigation. He said that investigation was complete and had been given to the state. He said he does not anticipate the school's PSSA scores will be impacted, but added, "That is something that the state needs to decide."

A spokesman from the state Department of Education did not return requests for comment.