Hold Testing Company Accountable

By Linda Hampton
OEA President

Unfortunately, thousands of Oklahoma’s educators and children were impacted by the spring’s testing debacle. The questionable results of an Indiana investigation, printed in the August 7 editorial, “Students, teachers find a way to survive test glitches,” are an attempt to minimize the ill preparedness of testing company CTB/McGraw Hill.

The entire education community was left frustrated, exhausted, and feeling slighted from the opportunity of giving their best effort. Not only were tests not received on scheduled delivery dates, but many schools received the wrong tests. Regardless of school districts’ technical capabilities, many students were abruptly stopped during the middle of the test and forced to wait hours to resume.

Bottom line, the Indiana investigation is simply a diversion away from mistakes made by testing company CTB/McGraw Hill.

It is also important to note the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s reluctance to hold the testing company accountable. The department has implemented multiple measures, such as A-F grading and high-stakes testing, in order to hold educators and students accountable. At a minimum, the private testing corporation should be held equally accountable for its significant shortcomings. 

Oklahoma teachers want to be held accountable. Testing is appropriate when we use tests to measure performance and then use that data to improve instruction and raise student achievement. We all share a common goal - to enrich our children’s education, their future. This is accomplished by acquiring accurate data and test scores, which we will not receive for the 2012-13 school year.

I am tremendously proud of our teachers, administrators, counselors, testing coordinators and students for making the best of the situation even in very trying circumstances.  They, not the testing company, should be applauded.

(This article appeared in The Oklahoman's "Your Views" section in the Saturday, August 10, 2013, issue.)


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