Oklahoma school testing troubles show need for better preventive, contingency plans

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: May 3, 2013

Critics of testing and the current accountability measures shouldn't take this as a moment to further oppose testing altogether. Rather, the struggles should be used as a learning opportunity to develop better preventive and contingency plans.

Barresi told The Oklahoman a “dry run” will be held in the future to spot any technology problems or other challenges as the state proceeds with its new tests tied to more rigorous education standards. That's a good step toward prevention. Barresi said discussions for contingency plans also are ongoing. This week showed why that's important, even if it's unclear what those plans look like.

Aside from finishing testing, the state also will have to decide whether to renew its contract with CTB/McGraw-Hill or seek new bidders. Booting the current vendor may seem the obvious choice. Reality is that no major testing company has a pristine record, so hiring a new vendor isn't a fail-safe.

The pressure on students and teachers during testing is immense, and that can't be forgotten. The priorities should be to support students and educators through the rest of testing and begin a serious discussion about the best way to correctly account for the mishaps when it comes to school grades. Next, state education officials must seek a thorough review of the contract and think creatively about how to craft an agreement that truly has students' best interests at heart and produces accurate, usable information for schools.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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