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July 30, 2013

Barresi: Settlement will benefit both students, teachers

Ada — Oklahoma teachers and students will see the greatest benefit from the state’s settlement with testing vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill, which covers the damages they suffered when server crashes disrupted student testing last spring.

That was the view of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, who announced Thursday that the Oklahoma Department of Education has negotiated a settlement worth more than $1.2 million with CTB/McGraw-Hill.

“Our teachers and students suffered the most during the testing disruptions, and I wanted them to benefit the most,” Barresi said in a news release. “We’ve accomplished that.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt wanted to study the settlement agreement, so the Department of Education will send the agreement to him for review before it takes effect.

CTB/McGraw-Hill spokesman Brian Belardi did not immediately respond Friday to a voice mail message seeking comment.

 

Damages

The settlement is the latest development in a story that began in late April, when CTB/McGraw-Hill’s online testing system crashed for two days. The crash forced students — some of whom were taking high-stakes tests required for graduation — to either wait for hours or give up on their exams.

State Department officials later sought damages against the vendor, resulting in the settlement agreement announced Thursday.

The settlement includes a cash payment of just $367,205, which will be distributed to school districts to cover their extra staffing costs linked to the server crash, according to the news release. Under the agreement, CTB/McGraw-Hill will provide instructional support, teacher training and other services valued at about $871,000.

Those services include:

• Training to help teachers learn more about the type of questions that will appear on English and math tests. Cost: $13,000.

• Voluntary tests, which can be given twice a year, aimed at helping teachers measure second-graders’ achievements. Cost $678,400.

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