Several Oklahoma lawmakers are calling on State Superintendent of Education Janet Barresi to let local school boards determine if scores from required state exams should be invalidated after a series of technical malfunctions interrupted the testing on consecutive days this week.
State Reps. Arthur Hulbert, John Bennett, Katie Henke, Dustin Roberts, and Jason Smalley believe the results should be allowed to be invalidated. How students perform on these exams affects not only how students are graded, but also how teachers are evaluated, how schools are graded under the new A-F grading system, and whether a student is allowed to graduate.
“I have received many emails from schools throughout the state, both inside and outside of my district, over the last 14 days since April 17 in regards to issues with the required Core Curriculum and End of Instruction Tests,” said Hulbert, R-Ft. Gibson. “How can we expect our children to be adequately engaged in a test they may have had to start and stop a couple of times? “Unfortunately, these errors have cost our students and teachers valuable time they could have used for learning. ” The fair thing to do for these students and teachers this year is to allow these exams to be voided so that our students and schools are not negatively affected. We have placed too much emphasis on these exams to allow external technical issues to negatively impact people’s lives.”
“We must take into consideration the variables involved when our school children have to deal with a cpu program going up and down and its detrimental effects it has on their ability to successfully take a test,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “The teachers and children have to deal with the negative effects of the system going down – a test that impacts their future.
At the very least, they should be allowed to re-take the tests if they feel they were negatively affected by the mitigating circumstances involved. We must as legislators, teachers and parents ensure they get a fair shot at this.”
“It is ridiculous to think that our children and schools should be held responsible for the technical difficulties of an outside testing company,” said Henke, R-Tulsa. “If these high-stakes tests cannot be administered in a timely manner and without interruption, then the scores should not be used to determine students' abilities and future standings. The bottom line is that we have a testing problem in our state and country and this is just one example of how it is negatively affecting our education system.”
“Only the local school districts administering theses test really understand the burden that this has become,” said Jason Smalley, R-Stroud. “Imagine the mid-level performing students that have been kicked out of a test for an hour and have to log back in and keep trying over and over. Their mind and focus are toast, its becomes a total loss of focus.”
“This is a great example of putting too much emphasis on state testing,” said Roberts, R-Durant. “The Department of Education needs to take a step back and look at the harm to our students by continuing to push these tests this year.”