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Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:23

By The Hutchinson News, July 11


With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

Because the usual data showing improvements, or declines, on public school student performance on standardized reading and math tests isn’t available, school administrators, school boards and the general public have no way to know how their schools stacked up against the rest of the state or their previous scores. Typically, these results are released each fall.

Schools gain from that. Students and teachers also put considerable work into the tests to continue improving. For this year, those efforts were for nothing.

But the testing cost far from nothing. The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas was paid $4.6 million to conduct the tests. Although the state board voted 9-0 not to release the results, board member John Bacon, an Olathe Republican, expressed frustration and suggested the contract with KU be reviewed. That’s certainly in order.

Around the region, reactions varied among administrators. Hutchinson USD 308 Superintendent Shelly Kiblinger wasn’t pleased.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed that we will not be receiving that data,” Kiblinger said. “It makes it difficult for us to adjust our material.”

On the other hand, Haven USD 312 Superintendent Rick White said that while the district uses the data, he doesn’t think that this year’s results are legitimate.

“I don’t think it’s fair to release something that’s flawed,” said White.

Both viewpoints are valid. This is disappointing, and the results are flawed. Consequently, the vendor should be held accountable.

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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