This year's STAAR season has been a parade of blunders and clusterfahrfegnugen. There were plenty of reasons not to like the test to begin with (here's a good list of just ten such reasons). But once it came time to actually deploy the test, things just got worse.
A "computer glitch" (which sounds so much nicer than "some programmer screw-up at corporate headquarters") caused a whole bunch of student answers to just disappear. Poof!
A collection of
Central Texas school districts also reported extensive problems with pretty much every single aspect of the test. Across the state districts reported mislabeled and misdelivered boxes of testing materials, problems with the software for taking the test, misreporting of results, and errors in test correction.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said that the problems were "unacceptable" but that test results would still be used to judge schools. Because reasons.
That was all a couple of months ago, and now it's June and reports of screw-ups are still rolling in. This week reports showed that the testing company simply lost all of the answer sheets from the Eanes school district.
A district staffer "has been informed that ETS has lost all of our boxes of scoreable results for (grades) 3-8!" he wrote. "We did everything right on our end. ETS agrees that they received the boxes. They just don't know what they have done with them."
ETS would be Educational Testing Services, not exactly newbies in the testing world. ETS won the Texas contract last year after Texas dumped Pearson as their testing company. Only time will tell if they're going to actually hold onto that contract. In the meantime, we have what has become a not-unusual reformster spectacle-- a big, bold, grand idea that nobody knows how to translate into something that actually works.
*I initially put the wrong city here.