The Oklahoma State Department of Education is scrambling to find another testing vendor for winter exams.
The department thought it would have to rehire the vendor responsible for back-to-back years of disruptions, CTB McGraw-Hill, because there was not enough time to find another vendor. However, state leaders said they heard informally that CTB McGraw-Hill is withdrawing from the bidding process.
They expect formal word soon from CTB McGraw-Hill and now the race is on to find a new testing vendor before exams start in mid-November.
"While nobody was happy with McGraw-Hill as being an option, it was a viable option for us,” said Joel Robison, State Department of Education Chief of Staff.
Robison said not having CTB McGraw-Hill comes with mixed emotions after two years of testing glitches with the company.
"I think everybody would be pleased today if we had something else in our back pocket today,” Robison added.
Roughly 51,000 tests are expected to be given during the winter assessment period. The department said the majority of those are end-of-instruction exams needed to graduate high school.
"With that somewhat in limbo at this point, I think it's unfortunate for several hundreds of our students just here in Edmond,” said Dr. David Goin, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent. “Multiply that by students around the state and it's an issue."
Goin said without a backup plan in place for testing, the loss of CTB McGraw-Hill is simply disappointing.
"The longer that there is a delay in the administration of the fall tests, the greater likelihood that we are going to have some overlap in preparing for our spring testing,” Goin told News 9.
Goin said training personnel on a new system and the implementation of that new system is no easy undertaking and takes time.
“We'll do our best to deal with logistical nightmares, we have in the past and we'll do our best to do so in the future,” Goin added.
Robison said the department of education could possibly move the testing windows to a later date to buy more time. For example, it could move testing to the second and third testing windows in early December and mid-January rather than the first window that starts in mid-November.
Whichever new testing vendor the state department of education recommends, the state board of education would still have to approve. The board of education is expected to hold a special meeting next month to take up the matter. Meanwhile, CTB McGraw-Hill said it has no comment at this time.