The Norman Transcript

July 26, 2013

CTB/McGraw-Hill to pay over 1.2M for disruptions

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi announced today that the Oklahoma State Department of Education, in conjunction with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, has reached a settlement agreement the company with CTB/McGraw-Hill for more than $1.2 million in damages.

The settlement covers damages suffered by students and teachers during the testing disruptions and server outages experienced April 29 and 30 during the spring testing window.

“I am very pleased with this settlement. I was outraged over the disruptions during the two-day period. I announced that we would seek damages to the full extent of the contract and we took an aggressive stance. The settlement agreement amounts to three times the value of damages defined in the contract,” Barresi said.

Barresi said that the settlement agreement directly benefits teachers and supports classroom instruction for increased student achievement through several in-kind components.

“Our teachers and students suffered the most during the testing disruptions and I wanted them to benefit the most. We’ve accomplished that. During negotiations, we were mindful of the suffering of the children and the stress this placed on teachers, testing coordinators and parents,” Barresi said.

The settlement agreement includes:

· A cash settlement ($367,205)

· Professional development for teachers to help them become more acquainted with the type of items that can be expected on new English language arts and math assessments and how to adjust instruction so students will be successful on these tests ($13,000)

· Formative tests for teachers that can be given on a voluntary basis twice a year to measure student learning and drive instruction for the benefit of increased student achievement in the second grade ($678,400)

· Formative tests for teachers that can be given on a voluntary basis twice a year to measure student learning and drive instruction for the benefit of increased student achievement for grades 3 through 11 ($6,600)

· Commissioning of an independent study to evaluate the impact of the disruptions on student test scores. HUMRRO, Inc. has expertise in the area of analyzing testing disruptions. They will provide an independent opinion that is expected to be delivered in late August ($48,000)

· Prior to testing, CTB will conduct a technology readiness assessment of each Oklahoma School District ($125,000)

Evaluations will include:

· Capturing specifications regarding bandwidth, number of workstations, server configuration, etc. at each school site

· Identifying a technology contact at each school district

· Performing online stress tests at every site

· Conducting training and deploy implementation services at all sites

· Establishing a technology forum to deliver regular communications to districts

The entire cash settlement amount will be disbursed to schools to help compensate for extra personnel costs incurred due to assessment issues this past spring.

The State Department of Education will communicate with district superintendents as the HUMRRO report is issued, cash is distributed and in-kind components are put into place.

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office has expressed interest in reviewing the settlement prior to OMES finalizing paperwork.