Oklahoma education department says it will withhold fifth-, eighth-grade writing scores from report

Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, in response to online testing failures, said Thursday the state Education Department will not use fifth- and eighth-grade writing scores to help determine the overall grade for this year’s school report cards.
by Tim Willert Modified: August 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm •  Published: August 28, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi responds to questions during a press conference in Oklahoma City, Thursday  August  28, 2014. The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday denied Oklahoma's request to extend a flexibility waiver for the No Child Left Behind Act. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi responds to questions during a press conference in Oklahoma City, Thursday August 28, 2014. The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday denied Oklahoma's request to extend a flexibility waiver for the No Child Left Behind Act. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, in response to online testing failures that disrupted end-of-instruction testing for thousands of students, said Thursday the state Education Department will not use fifth- and eighth-grade writing scores to help determine the overall grade for this year’s school A-F report cards.

It was the second straight year that students experienced disruptions while taking tests administered by testing company CTB/McGraw Hill.

Most 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.

In a statement, Barresi said the department was exercising an abundance of caution, even though contested test scores that were changed represent less than 1 percent of test scores for all Oklahoman fifth- and eight-graders tested for writing.

“When compared to previous years, we are not seeing strong variation in the overall percentage of changed writing scores when rescored,” she said. “Nevertheless, we don’t want there to be even a shadow of a doubt that our school report cards are accurate.”

In June, the state Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate the education department’s contract with the testing company, which is the subject of an inquiry by state Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Earlier this month, Pruitt said he was asking Oklahoma superintendents for information he can use to hold CTB/McGraw Hill financially accountable for the testing failures.

by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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