Math, reading tests results may not go public in Kansas

04/14/2014 10:18 PM

04/14/2014 10:18 PM

Kansas education officials may not release the results of annual state math and reading tests because of computer problems and cyberattacks that plagued this year’s exams.

Test results won’t be used if they might give an invalid picture, especially in light of decisions by some school districts to delay the tests or interrupt the process, said deputy education commissioner Brad Neuenswander.

“We won’t use the data in any way that we’re not confident it makes a valid claim,” Neuenswander said.

The state is trying new computerized tests that are more technologically advanced. But when schools started giving the tests in March, technical problems prevented students from taking them.

The University of Kansas, which is developing the tests, resolved many glitches. But cyberattacks soon followed that prevented schools from accessing the exams. Some districts stopped work on the exams.

The university worked through the cyberattacks and schools have made some progress. Marianne Perie, director of KU’s Center for Education Testing and Evaluation, said more than 120,000 tests were completed last week. Thus far, students have completed more than 218,000 of the 600,000 tests in math, English and science.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve turned a corner,” Perie said.

School districts have expressed unease about using the results even if they are completed by the May 16 deadline.

“Even if they’re accurate, they’re not valid,” said Steve Pegram, superintendent of the Santa Fe Trail district based in Carbondale. “When you disrupt the testing situation, you disrupt the validity.”

Neuenswander said the data will be analyzed after the May deadline. The state will consider asking for federal approval not to publish the data if it isn’t valid.

In any case, the tests are part of a pilot program and will not count toward school accreditation or teacher evaluations.

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