Sunday, July 18, 2004

ETS fails to score their tests correctly

Here's an example of the down side of testing: when the tests are scored incorrectly.  In this case, this is a case involving teachers' test scores. The scoring company: the famed ETS.  Hey, I remember them from way back when.
From Susan Ohanian's site:
About 480 people in Louisiana who passed a teacher licensing test administered by a private company were incorrectly told they failed, delaying or preventing some from getting jobs. The Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., wrongfully lowered scores on about 4,100 teacher tests in 19 states. Louisiana had the third-highest number of teacher candidates affected, behind Ohio and Pennsylvania. Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cecil Picard said the errors were "extremely disappointing" for Louisiana because "we have a chronic shortage of teachers in our state." The mistake has prevented many teacher candidates from being hired because a student must pass the exam, called the Praxis test, to be licensed.
Relying on part-timers to score tests appears to have problems.  And consider the consequences: this kept these teachers in Lousiana from being hired. If I was one of these teachers (4100 of them in the nation), I would be pretty ticked, to say the least, if this had cost me my job.
And it doesn't take much to extrapolate  here: hmmm.  Could we foresee problems with students' test scores? And let me see: who would 'pay' for the mistakes?