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Indiana: A Case Study in Taking Action

July 30, 2013

Since CTB/McGraw-Hill testing failed in April in both Oklahoma and Indiana, the responses have been very different. Oklahoma’s state superintendent vacillated blame between the testing company and the school districts it failed. Indiana unrelentingly blamed CTB. Oklahoma issued a penalty to the testing company that was really a sweetheart deal bringing them more revenue in the long run. Indiana continues to pursue a steep penalty that actually hurts CTB.

Oklahoma’s deal with CTB allows them to pay for their own study on the impact of the testing disruption. Indiana has already completed theirs. Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz summarized the results:

“I have spent the last several months talking with Hoosiers about the impact these interruptions had in the classroom.  Although Dr. Hill’s report found that the statewide average score was not affected by the interruptions, there is no doubt that thousands of Hoosier students were affected.  As Dr. Hill stated in his report, ‘We cannot know definitively how students would have scored this spring if the interruptions had not happened.’ Because of this, I have given local schools the flexibility they need to minimize the effect these tests have on various matters, such as teacher evaluation and compensation.  I have also instructed CTB McGraw-Hill to conduct enhanced stress and load testing to ensure that their servers are fully prepared for next year’s test and ensure that this never happens again.”

Flexibility? Consideration of the students and teachers? That’s revolutionary talk. My guess is that the CTB report of the Oklahoma disruption will insist that the statewide impact lacks statistical significance, although the impact on individuals will be episodically concerning. With these findings, I expect the Oklahoma SDE to provide no such quarter to students or teachers.

Need an EOI to graduate? Sorry. You should have passed the other ones. Need that value added point in a couple of years (based on a baseline established in 2013) to ensure that you get to keep teaching? Sorry, the disruption wasn’t that big of a deal.

Going back a few months earlier, Indiana voters shocked Jeb Bush by defeating Tony Bennett, one of his Chiefs for Change cronies, in 2012. Do you think there’s a chance we’ll follow Indiana down that road?

*****

(By the way, if you haven’t read about the latest Tony Bennett scandal, you need to. This is one of Barresi’s closest reformer friends.)

If you’d like read the entire 20 page report on Indiana’s testing disruption here.

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