|WCSI Local News|
The official state position that repeated system outages during the most recent ISTEP testing had no measurable negative effects is not sitting well with local school superintendents. Our earlier reports concentrated on schools in Bartholomew County. We now turn our attention south.
Jennings County Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Sargent says that 936 of approximately 4,800 students in his district were affected by the outages. Most were third, fourth and fifth graders. He says that any person taking an important test that is disconnected through no fault of their own would be affected, including adults. Sargent adds that educators know that children can be easily distracted.
"Anyone who has worked in education and has worked in student assessment...knows that if the student is doing that assessment on a computer and it freezes up on them or it kicks them off, that is going to disrupt them mentally," Sargent said. He went on to say that any person taking an important test that is disconnected through no fault of their own would be affected, including adults.
Sargent says he agrees with many of his colleagues who are pointing the finger at the state's vendor, McGraw-Hill. He says Jennings County Schools went above and beyond in preparedness and that it still wasn't enough to protect student testing and data.
"We were prepared for this to happen," Sargent said.
He says the district had been battling issues like these for years, with last year being particularly bad. Even though the state and the vendor assured school districts statewide that there would be no major problems, Sargend said "we set up every kind of device that we possibly could from our end, but the problems were on their (McGraw Hill's) end, so we didn't have any control over it."
Dr. Sargent went on to opine that the issues with McGraw-Hill may be bigger than anyone realizes. While citing the figures school administrators gathered related to the ISTEP outages, he added that the vendor's figures were off significantly from what the district collected.
Sargent says McGraw-Hill's data indicated that around 20 percent fewer students were affected than what actually were. He also noted that names and grades did not match up and that students were listed as being disrupted taking tests that they did not take.
"We believe that the McGraw-Hill list of our students who were disrupted is very inaccurate," Sargent said.
Last Updated: Friday, August 02, 2013 7:28:35 AM
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