The Oklahoma State Department of Education and its testing vendor have settled out of court following a number of student exam disruptions, including two days of server crashes.
Under the agreement, CTB/McGraw Hill will conduct further testing and development for the state valued at more than $870,000. That, along with a $367,205 cash settlement, will serve as $1.238 million compensation for the year's difficulties.
“I am very pleased with this settlement. I was outraged over the disruptions during the two day period," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said Thursday. "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.”
In June, the Oklahoma Education Association released a report urging the state board to invalidate all 2013 standardized tests. The report, which called the vendor's efforts "grossly deficient," alleges students were left waiting for hours to finish tests, arrived at school each day believing they would be expected to test and had to retake the same exams "multiple times."
VIEW THE FULL REPORT (http://bit.ly/oeareport)
Here's some of the Thursday's settlement figures:
-- 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)
-- The commissioning of an independent study to evaluate the impact on student test scores the nonperformance by the vendor this past spring. 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)
-- Professional development by CTB for teachers to help them become more acquainted with the type of items that will be on the new English language arts and math assessments and how to adjust instruction so students will be successful on those 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 for grades 3 to11. ($6,600)
-- Prior to testing, CTB will conduct a technology readiness assessment of all Oklahoma School Districts to: ($125,000)
o Capture specifications regarding bandwidth, number of workstations, server configuration, etc at each school site
o Identify a technology contact at each school district
o Perform online stress tests at every site
o Conduct training and deploy implementation services at all sites
o Establish a technology forum to deliver regular communications to district
OSDE officials say the department plans to dish out the cash settlement to schools in the state. The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has expressed interest in reviewing the settlement before it's finalized.
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