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State Education Department will offer free practice tests to more than 200 Oklahoma schools

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: September 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm •  Published: September 21, 2012

More than 200 school districts in Oklahoma have signed up to use free practice tests through a new program offered by the state Education Department.

The state agency hired a company — CTB/McGraw-Hill — to administer state exams this year.

When state workers asked for contract proposals, testing companies had to lump in practice benchmark exams, said Maridyth McBee, assistant state superintendent for accountability and assessments.

“The purpose will be to give a snapshot of how well students are mastering the course content,” McBee said.

If students are doing well, teachers can stay on course. If they're doing poorly, teachers can backtrack.

It also will help students, who can see where they may need extra help or tutoring, McBee said.

On a district scale, administrators can compare the tests to see whether students in one class are struggling more than others.

The goal, McBee said, would be to intervene and help struggling teachers before state tests come around.

So far, about 220 districts out of the 521 in the state have signed up for the free exams, McBee said.

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