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More Problems, Second Year State Writing Tests Called Unreliable

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For the second year in a row there are problems with the 5th and 8th grade mandatory state writing tests. For the second year in a row there are problems with the 5th and 8th grade mandatory state writing tests.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

For the second year in a row there are problems with the 5th and 8th grade mandatory state writing tests. The State Department of Education said the scores are unreliable.

On June 3rd of 2014 News 9 reported that Oklahoma Schools started getting their 5th and 8th grade writing tests back and realized there were problems. Exactly one year later, it's the same story.

It's not only the State Department of Education, but schools throughout the state said they are getting those test results back and once again it appears they were graded improperly. Dr. Jason Simeroth, the superintendent in Yukon said they noticed something wrong when the initial scores started coming back.

“There were some flags that came up, some of the scores were lower than we expected from some of the accelerated kids,” said Dr. Simeroth.

The problems were similar to those experienced last year. Even though this year, the state used a different testing company. Phil Bacharach, the Communications Director for the State Department of Education, said the issues started a couple years ago when the state switched to a more complicated passage based test.

“We're looking at two different years, two different superintendents coming to the same conclusion. I think that speaks volumes about the reliability and accuracy of these tests,” said Bacharach.

Therefore State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the state will not be using the scores as part of the A-F school grading system.

“There were some interesting and glaring inconsistencies with the scoring on the writing test and ultimately superintendent Hofmeister determined that they could not in good conscious be stakes attached to it,” said Bacharach.

A decision Superintendent Simeroth said gets top marks in his book.

“It would have hurt us, it would have hurt everyone across the state,” said Dr. Simeroth.

Still, taxpayers paid millions to have these tests graded and schools spent hours not only administering the tests but preparing for them.

Superintendent Hofmeister pushed for a moratorium on these tests this legislative session, but that didn't go anywhere. Bacharach said she will try again next year.

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