- Ada, Oklahoma

August 22, 2013

Education Department will not report some scores from spring testing

Ada —

The Oklahoma Department of Education will report scores for students who received proficient or advanced ratings on their spring tests, despite a two-day server crash that disrupted the exams.

However, the state will not report scores for students who received limited-knowledge or unsatisfactory ratings.

The decision not to report low scores was based on a study which concluded that students who were affected by the disruption fared as well as students who were not involved, according to a news release from the Department of Education.

The news release said test-takers as a whole did not receive low scores, but it was possible that some students did not test well due to the server crash.

“Even though this study suggests no systemic impact on test scores, not reporting the scores of students who scored limited knowledge or unsatisfactory will ensure there is no lasting impact on student performance,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said in the news release. “This is the right thing to do for students and for schools.”

Sherry fire, communications director for the Department of Education, said Wednesday that the state will not know how many students had low ratings until later this month.


Server crash

The testing vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill has a contact to provide testing services for Oklahoma schools.

CTB/McGraw-Hill’s online testing system crashed for two days in late April, forcing 9,100 students to either wait for hours or give up on their exams. Some of those students were high school seniors taking end-of-instruction exams, which were required for graduation.

The state later sought damages from the vendor, setting the sage for a $1.2 million settlement. The settlement agreement, which included an independent study by the Virginia-based Human Resources Research Organization, was announced last month.

HumRRO has completed its study, which focused on the impact of the disruption on student test scores. A company official reported the results to the State Board of Education on Tuesday.

The study noted that 1,400 students who took tests in April received immediate raw scores that differed from the score they received on a two-week preliminary report, according to the news release. The discrepancy occurred for two reasons:

• Some responses to test questions were not saved for a short time on the second day of the server crash. As a result, those responses were not included in the two-week report.

• CTB/McGraw-Hill inadvertently left its winter test system as a downloading option, which caused the system to save incorrect data.

Students whose raw scores differed from the two-week report will receive the higher of the two ratings, according to the news release. The students who had higher raw scores will receive a letter indicating their proficiency level from CTB/McGraw-Hill.

Those scores will be included in the student’s report card but not in the school or district’s summary report.

Students whose two-week scores were higher will receive a traditional report 

that includes their performance level and performance by content standard.

Barresi said the HumRRO study concluded that the discrepancies between the raw scores and the two-week report did not require further action.

“Because the two-day incident resulted in so much stress and chaos of the school day, I wanted to assure students, teachers and schools were not held accountable for circumstances beyond their control,” she said.