The State Department of Education reached a more than $1.2 million settlement with a company over technical problems that disrupted standardized testing across Oklahoma in the spring.
State Superintendent Janet Barresi announced the settlement Thursday, saying it covers damages suffered by students and teachers during the testing disruptions and server outages in April.
CTB/McGraw-Hill's online testing servers crashed two days in a row, invalidating thousands of tests and delaying the testing schedule for students in several Oklahoma public schools.
"I am very pleased with this settlement. I was outraged over the disruptions during the two day period. 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," said Superintendent Barresi.
According to the news release, the settlement agreement includes:
• A cash settlement ($367,205)
• Professional development for teachers to help them become more acquainted with the type of items that can be expected on new English language arts and math assessments and how to adjust instruction so students will be successful on these 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 in the second grade. ($678,400)
• 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 through 11. ($6,600)
• The commissioning of an independent study to evaluate the impact of the disruptions on student test scores. 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)
• Prior to testing, CTB will conduct a technology readiness assessment of each Oklahoma School District to: ($125,000)
-Capture specifications regarding bandwidth, number of workstations, server configuration, etc. at each school site
-Identify a technology contact at each school district
-Perform online stress tests at every site
-Conduct training and deploy implementation services at all sites
-Establish a technology forum to deliver regular communications to districts
According to the Department of Education press release, the Oklahoma Attorney General's office has expressed interest in reviewing the settlement before the paperwork is finalized.