High-Stakes Testing Vendor Unprepared Yet Again

STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS SUFFER CONSEQUENCES

Earlier this morning, more than 8,000 students in grades 6-12 were abruptly interrupted during high-stakes testing due to what Supt. Barresi is now saying is the fault of CTB McGraw Hill testing vendor. Barresi and the State Board of Education (SBE) re-contracted with CTB/McGraw Hill for $13,539,214 million after the testing interruptions in 2013. According to Barresi, the state is exploring options for the remainder of the testing window, including pencil and paper assessments.

Students, educators and families have been preparing for these mandatory assessments for the majority of the school year, including the “stress test” of equipment ordered by Supt. Barresi in January which halted instruction for all schools in order to later prevent testing interruptions. In addition, the high-stakes tests interrupted today may be used to determine whether students receive a driver’s license or graduate high school.

“Students are much more than a test score and this is an unacceptable burden. To quote Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – at the very least this makes one question the competency of the state superintendent and the State Board of Education,” said Hampton.

In April 2013, students and schools experienced a very similar testing interruption, which Barresi later blamed on the districts. At the SBE meeting to renew the CTB/McGraw contract, President Hampton requested the board consider other options. All requests were ignored.

At that same SBE meeting, Hampton also petitioned that the 2013 tests be concluded invalid and students, educators and schools not be penalized due to testing interruptions and vendor incompetency. The testing vendor has repeated the interruptions in 2014, and President Hampton is repeating her request to invalidate test scores.

“At OEA, we are highly disappointed and believe the high-stakes portion of these tests should be invalid. Students, teachers and schools cannot continue to endure the immense amount of testing, harmful pressure and anxiety that accompanies testing, and suffer the consequences of repetitive testing vendor errors,” Linda Hampton, OEA President said.

OEA has encouraged members to contact legislators requesting support of both SB 1654 and HB 3170, proposed legislation that would reduce the amount of standardized testing.


 

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