Some OK School Districts Still Upset Over State Testing Issues
EL RENO, Oklahoma - Proceed with caution seems to be the approach school districts are taking Tuesday with statewide testing.
On Monday, 8,100 students were forced off their tests. Now the hardware problem is fixed and districts have the choice to test or wait until Wednesday.
After receiving word from McGraw-Hill that the problem was solved, the Department of Education gave districts the choice. Some elected to continue while others are still fuming at even the existence of high stakes testing.
"High stakes, state mandated testing, is the most disruptive force within a school. It doesn't do us any good. We don't get anything from it," said El Reno High School Principal Pat Liticker.
When over 1,000 El Reno students were affected by the failure of online tests Monday, solid white filled every computer screen. Principal Pat Liticker boiled with red.
"Who's grading the testing company? Who's grading the people who hire the testing company? Is anyone putting a D or a C in the newspapers based on the decisions they make? But yet we're going to take these tests that have failed two years in a row, frustrated students two years in a row and we're going to use that to determine how well our school is doing. I don't need that. I know how well our school is doing," said Liticker.
El Reno officials now have to wait to determine how to complete the tests affected on Monday. In the meantime, the original testing continues as planned. An option Liticker calls a "Catch 22" with high stakes tests.
"Part of you sits there and goes you know what? Let's just not test. Let's throw our neck out there and don't test. Here you go. Here's my neck. I'm going to start this non testing movement. But then you go, kids have to have this test to graduate. And I'm not going to jeopardize my kids," said Liticker.
So to guarantee completed tests El Reno officials requested paper and pencil. Which was declined by Superintendent Janet Baressi citing test security. Liticker feels that implies the state is questioning the integrity of the schools.
"Trust local educators to make decisions for their schools, trust people. We're professionals. We're trained to make the best decisions for our communities and our kids," said Liticker.
Liticker also mentioned he feels his schools monthly assessments are more valuable to teachers because schools don't see results of the CTB tests until August.
The Department of Education says the president of McGraw-Hill will address the State Board of Education on Thursday.