Fallout of Oklahoma school testing glitch continues

Oklahoma schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said she wasn't part of the decision-making process to hire the state's testing company, but she has stepped in to negotiate what happens from now on after the company experienced a technical glitch that affected more than 9,000 test-takers.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: May 20, 2013
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“To the best of my knowledge, nothing has been settled yet,” Sieger said. “We've really just been focusing on making sure that the testing got done properly. Those conversations about the next steps — those will happen.”

Sieger said as far as he knew, the contract with Oklahoma was still in place.

“This is brave-new-world stuff here — the world of online testing and doing all these simultaneous tests. It's really challenging work, and unfortunately, there are going to be some hiccups,” he said.

“Every testing company is doing this on a scale that hasn't been done before. We're all making mistakes, we're all learning from it, and in the end, the kids and the teachers will benefit because there's a lot of advantages to doing online testing. But there's no doubt the industry is going through some growing pains.”

Revolving door

In the past 10 years, Oklahoma has used five testing companies, ending contracts with companies either because the state was dissatisfied or could find a better price for a bid.

In 2004, Harcourt Assessments Inc. printed the incorrect answers to sample questions on state tests for Oklahoma eighth-graders, eliciting an apology from the company.

In 2001, Riverside Publishing was fired in Oklahoma for significant delays in student test results.

In 1997, Harcourt Publishing sent the wrong writing exams to 80,000 Oklahoma students in eighth and 11th grades.

Before McGraw, the state had three testing contracts with Pearson Education, a global education services company. Pearson had handled Oklahoma's end-of-instruction high school exams since 2007.

But in 2011, Barresi announced that Pearson had made data calculation errors.

This year, McGraw wasn't the only testing company to falter during Oklahoma's testing season. Pearson experienced testing difficulties that affected portfolio assessments. Portfolios are used in lieu of tests for profoundly disabled students.

Contributing: Staff Writer Jaclyn Cosgrove


This is brave-new-world stuff here — the world of online testing and doing all these simultaneous tests. ... We're all making mistakes, we're all learning from it, and in the end, the kids and the teachers will benefit because there's a lot of advantages to doing online testing.”

Daniel Sieger,

CTB/McGraw-Hill Education spokesman,
CTB/McGraw-Hill Education spokesman

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