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2015 – CTB/McGraw-Hill will provide $4.5 million in services at no cost
to the Georgia Department of Education, following content errors and
disruptions during 2015 Georgia Milestones testing, State School Superintendent
Richard Woods announced today. Those services include safeguards to ensure
future administrations of the test take place with no similar issues.
That funding includes $2.64
million to create and implement end-of-course assessments serving the new
traditional/discrete math course options – meaning those tests will be
developed at no expense to Georgia taxpayers. CTB/McGraw-Hill will also
Up to $120,000 for an in-state program manager to serve as a point
of contact for the GaDOE for one year, helping to coordinate, organize and
prioritize tasks requiring GaDOE review and input
Up to $60,000 toward an independent analysis of the problems that
took place in 2015-16
$1.6 million in additional services
After a recent meeting between
CTB/McGraw-Hill President Ellen Haley and Superintendent Woods, CTB/McGraw-Hill
agreed to provide the services listed above as recompense for the errors and
disruptions that took place during the 2015 test administration.
accountable for these issues was nonnegotiable for us,” Superintendent Woods
said. “The problems were not widespread, but for the students who were
affected, that does not matter. It was essential that we ensure this never
happens again. The vendor has worked with us to make sure those safeguards are
in place, and to ensure Georgia is compensated for the services that were not
rendered effectively. Fortunately, in this circumstance, that means we’re able
to eliminate some expenses for the taxpayer.”
As part of Superintendent Woods’
larger focus on testing, he has started the planning process of working with
nonprofits to conduct an audit of state and local testing.
During the 2015 administration of
the Georgia Milestones end-of-grade tests, many schools tested students online,
and some of those schools experienced periodic connection issues. These were
attributed, in many cases, to the lengthy delay in the test administration
system’s ability to sync student information across databases.
Other students encountered
instances of the test “freezing” or taking prolonged periods of time to load
the next test question. This issue became more predominant on April 21 and 22,
as more schools across the state began to test. Many students who were granted
an accommodation of using a screen reader to read test questions experienced
more delays and interruptions than other students, due to an insufficient
number of testing vendor servers to handle the number of screen readers used.
On April 21 and 22, GaDOE suspended testing for the impacted students while
CTB/McGraw-Hill worked to identify the cause and remediate.
The interruptions were sporadic
and scattered across the state, affecting a relatively small number of
students. At no time was Georgia required to suspend all testing, as was the
case in other states this spring.