Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

June 22, 2013

Schools chief seeks $614K for standardized testing problems

INDIANAPOLIS — The superintendent of Indiana’s public schools announced Friday she would seek more than $614,000 in damages from CTB/McGraw-Hill, the same day company President Ellen Haley apologized to lawmakers for failures in online standardized tests that caused chaos at the end of the school year.

Superintendent Glenda Ritz said the money she’s seeking would cover fines laid out in the state’s $95 million contract with the testing company and pay for an independent review of the test’s validity and improved reporting data. Department of Education staff said the fines could easily grow to millions of dollars.

Indiana’s troubles have punctuated a nationwide shift from pencil-and-paper tests to online exams. Troubles earlier this year disrupted high-stakes testing in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota and Oklahoma. A bank of “overwhelmed” servers in New Jersey caused students in Oklahoma and Indiana to be consistently booted from the online test over two days at the end of April, McGraw-Hill executives said Friday.

“The consequences of CTB’s server failures were real and significant for Indiana schools,” Ritz said in a news release issued before McGraw Hill executives spoke to lawmakers.

A penitent Haley stood before legislators for more than an hour Friday afternoon, answering questions about whether the company underestimated the impact of the test shutdowns and if test results should be considered valid for any of the many high-stakes education formulas they’re plugged into around the state.

“Let me begin first, by apologizing to you,” she said. “I know it’s unacceptable to you. Believe me; it’s unacceptable to me, too.”

McGraw-Hill employees ran “stress tests” on their servers and the Internet capabilities at schools across the state before signing off on complete transition from paper to online this year. Technicians could not foresee the crush of students taking the test all at once, however, and were forced to quickly add more virtual memory to the servers, she said.

Beyond the fines included in the contract, state lawmakers said many school districts dug into already-stretched budgets to cover overtime for teachers and staff to clean up the testing troubles.

“There were incredible costs overruns in these areas because of these problems,” said state Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, a high school chemistry teacher. Asked if the company should pay for local costs caused by the testing failure, Haley said she could not comment.

The scope of the testing troubles is still being determined, but many lawmakers detailed other major problems. Battles relayed stories of partial multiple choice lists showing up on students’ screens without the correct answer to the question and problems with a separate McGraw-Hill test needed to graduate the third grade.

The McGraw-Hill team was contrite but narrow in their answers, declining to weigh in on the newly disclosed troubles.

Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said the public relations problems could end up being worse for the company than the fines.

“I think the embarrassment is a huge thing. I think that’s a big penalty for them,” he said. “Money counts — we for sure want money — but I appreciated them coming in and (Haley’s) first phrase was ‘I apologize.’”

Kruse said he’s most concerned about the validity of the test results, which are used to factor everything from teacher pay to Indiana’s school assessment system. McGraw-Hill is reviewing the results and Ritz hired an outside firm to conduct a separate analysis.

Indiana lawmakers plan to meet July 29 to review the results.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140730 Spore mug Charges filed against parents in Syracuse boy's death SYRACUSE — According to a story first reported by The Times-Union in Warsaw, the parents of a 12-year-old Syracuse boy are facing criminal charges as the result of their son's death in June. The Times-Union reported late Friday night that Candy Sue

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140823 new paris railroad crossing 01 Railroad crossing upgrades coming NEW PARIS — Significant safety upgrades are on their way for the Division Street railroad crossing in New Paris. That’s the word from Will Wingfield, a media relations representative with the Indiana Department of Transportation, who recently indicat

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn