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October 10, 2013

Okla. legislators briefed on testing

OKLAHOMA CITY — An independent study found a massive computer glitch in April that affected thousands of test taking students across the state had little overall impact on test scores, a state education official told Oklahoma legislators on Wednesday.

Assistant State Superintendent Maridyth McBee briefed a joint committee of House and Senate members on the impact of the computer disruption and on the latest tests being implemented statewide. The legislative hearing was requested by Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. John Ford amid complaints from many lawmakers that students are being tested too much.

“As tests have taken on, over the years, a lot of new aspects, they’ve become high-stakes and we use them for graduation, we use them for college admission, we use them for teacher performance,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville. “What we’re doing today is not what we’re going to be doing in three, five or 10 years. It’s going to change, and we need to understand the options so that we can make the best decisions for the students and the parents of Oklahoma.”

McBee said an independent study commissioned after the testing glitch in April determined that students appeared to do as well on the test regardless of testing disruptions. Still, McBee said the state is recommending keeping the scores of affected students who scored proficient or advanced, but not reporting scores for impacted students who scored limited knowledge or unsatisfactory.

The study determined the most significant disruption affected Algebra students in seventh and eighth grade, but that overall the impact was “relatively small.”

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