House Democrats push to end testing contract

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Updated: 5/08/2013 10:41 am Published: 5/08/2013 10:36 am

House Democrats filed a resolution to terminate the testing contract for public schools after issues with the server cause numerous testing issues.

The contract to provide core curriculum and end-of-instruction exams in Oklahoma should be terminated and the company sued for “egregious errors and delays,” wrote House Democrats Tuesday in House Resolution 1025.

Oklahoma students finishing statewide core curriculum and end-of-instruction exams had their work invalidated due to repeated server outages at the site of the test provider, CBT/McGraw-Hill. House democrats say the company had no provisions to duplicate, cache, or otherwise back-up completed testing data.

Because these exam results determine whether or not high school seniors can graduate and factor into the state’s education accountability scoring scheme, House Democrats want the state to take the proper punitive action against CBT/McGraw-Hill.

“These exams epitomize high-stakes testing,” said Democratic Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City and principal author of the House Resolution. “Too much hangs in the balance with these exams for them to be administered so poorly. CBT/McGraw-Hill’s negligence in their execution must be addressed. I think the proper course of action is to terminate their contract and the attorney general should bring a lawsuit against the company, given the misery and distress our students and administrators have experienced from the company’s incompetence.”

"As a former educator, I took pride in our public schools' ability to identify students’ academic growth and performance,” said Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum and co-author of the resolution. “However, under the current focus by the State Department of Education on high stakes state mandated testing, we have found that students, parents, and educators see this process has failed to achieve what had been done effectively for decades in the past. We see the current testing fiasco as counter intuitive in that it undermines the credibility of our schools' goals and efforts."

“We have high school students who may not graduate because of this testing fiasco,” said Rep. Jerry McPeak, D-Warner, and resolution co-author. “We have teachers who will be assessed based on the results of invalidated exams. We have schools that will be graded based on a shoddy product. It doesn’t make any sense. Considering this company was the highest bidder of the three who wanted this contract, you would think we’d get our money’s worth. I say, we deserve a refund and McGraw-Hill should be kicked to the curb.”

“This is not something that should be taken lightly or swept under the rug,” said Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City and resolution co-author. “Our students, teachers, administrators and our parents are under a tremendous amount of pressure during the testing period. Adding additional stress by not providing reliable testing materials and online testing equipment is unacceptable.”

“The relationship with this company has been problematic from the very beginning,” said Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville and co-author of the resolution. “We were told months after the deadline a testing company was to be selected that CBT/McGraw-Hill could effectively deliver this product in the time given. As our teachers and students who were put through the ringer throughout the testing process can tell you, evidently, this company doesn’t have the capacity to deliver this product as they’re contracted. Oklahoma taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for a shoddy product and there should be some financial compensation for this debacle over the past 90 days. Most importantly, the children taking these tests also should not be held accountable for the company’s incompetence.”

Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, and Rep. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester, are also co-authors of HR 1025.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 5/9/2013 8:27 AM
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Back In the day we did it all with a #2 pencil and a student aid.
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