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Oklahoma Board of Education terminates contract with controversial testing vendor

Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi had called for the board to terminate the contract after thousands of students across the state experienced disruptions while taking online tests for the second year in a row.
by Tim Willert Published: June 26, 2014


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State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, at right, leans over to speak with board member Bill Shdeed during a state Board of Education meeting Thursday. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
  PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND
State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, at right, leans over to speak with board member Bill Shdeed during a state Board of Education meeting Thursday. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND

The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to revoke the education department’s contract with controversial testing company CTB/McGraw Hill.

State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi had called for the board to terminate the contract after thousands of students across the state experienced disruptions while taking online tests for the second year in a row.

“Sometimes you have situations where vendors overpromise and underdeliver,” Barresi said.

More recently, school district officials across the state questioned whether the vendor properly scored fifth- and eight-grade writing tests after discovering that high numbers of students received the exact same scores.

Rick Cobb, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Moore Public Schools, told the board that a high percentage of fifth-graders and eighth-graders in his district received the same score in every subcategory.

“After much analysis of the information made available to us we believe that the testing company has once against failed on multiple levels,” Cobb said. “We have no trust in the scores.”

Last year, the state paid CTB $8.9 million for Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests, plus $7.3 million for high-stakes end of instruction exams that are used to determine whether high schoolers receive a diploma.

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