Oklahoma Students Instantly Ranked After Test; Educators Concerned

Friday, April 17th 2015, 6:45 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa area school districts reported few technology problems with student testing over the week.

That's been a major problem in years past, but now it's what's happening at the end of the test that educators are questioning.

4/21/2014 Related Story: Glitch Forces OK Superintendent To Suspend Online Testing

The majority of testing for sixth grade and up is done on computer with instant results, and it's not just a number, a label comes with it.

Oklahoma's students are fully involved in testing for the next couple of weeks, and what's new this year is that they get an instant decision on how they scored.

4/12/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma Elementary Students Gear Up For Testing

Students have always gotten a raw score - the number right and wrong - but this year they also get the grouping they fall into.

The issue affects the math and reading tests for middle schools, and math and biology for high school students.

When the test is over, a screen pops up with the students score; it's the number right or wrong, usually out of 50 questions.

The new test also shows the scoring brackets - advanced, proficient, limited knowledge or unsatisfactory.

The instant, and sometimes discouraging, label has some educators, like Sherry Durkee with Sand Springs schools, concerned.

"Our students with disabilities are required, except in extreme cases, to take the same exam, and those kids who have struggled, maybe for their whole school career, are affected by seeing a word pop up on a screen that says they're less than satisfactory or proficient," she said.

The younger grades take more tests on paper so they don't get the instant feedback.

All of the tests are from the state's new testing company, Measured Progress.

State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has asked the company to change their software to still show the score, but not the bracket.

The State Department of Education said it could change as early as Monday.

That could save some students from getting bad news but leaves other students unsure about how they did; especially for seniors about to graduate, the information is critical.

The students want to know too, it's a pretty important piece when it's high stakes," Durkee said.

The change in the software won't impact the score or the ranking, just changes how students get that information.