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May 2, 2013

Reps want testing halt

OKLAHOMA CITY — Some state legislators called for a moratorium on public school testing Wednesday after a number of computer glitches were reported by state education officials.

The Department of Education said there were problems with online assessments for grades 6 through 12 on Monday and Tuesday. Testing company CTB/McGraw Hill reported server problems while uploading student assessment results and students were knocked off mid-assessment.

Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, a longtime school administrator, said it would be unfair to subject students to testing after “a ton of problems” have been reported.

“We’ll just start over next year when the testing provider has its act together,” McDaniel said. “It’s not fair to these students to make them retake tests two or three times or accept a score based on a partial test that may or may not be accurate because of technology problems.”

Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Chouteau, said the interruptions should invalidate tests.

“No student should be penalized as a result of the failure of the state Department of Education or its paid contractor to properly deliver the online test,” Sherrer said.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi called the glitches “completely unacceptable” and said the department is working on a remedy.

“Once that is done, we will have discussions about how to proceed with accommodations for the districts and proceed with CTB,” Barresi said.

Agency spokeswoman Sherry Fair said testing was going smoothly after it resumed Wednesday. Fair said a moratorium on further testing was not under consideration.

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