Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

State Officials Now Checking Tests' Validity

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

State Officials Now Checking Tests' Validity

Article excerpt

Kansas schools finished taking mathematics and reading tests last week, and education officials must now determine whether this year's results will be valid despite cyberattacks that hampered the testing.

The state's annual spring window for students to complete federally mandated tests closed Friday. Testing began in early March, but ran into trouble first because of internal glitches with the state's new test-delivery platform, then, once glitches were largely resolved, because of cyberattacks.

The technical problems prevented many schools from being able to access and complete tests in the first month, and some districts scaled back their testing efforts. That raised concerns as to whether Kansas would have enough testing data this year to release accurate results and to explore whether individual test questions were valid. The former is required by the federal government and the latter is an important step in completing the design process for the state's new math and reading tests.

On Tuesday, Marianne Perie, director of KU's Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, which designs and administers the tests, said the state will be able to complete the latter task.

"We've got enough data to do that," Perie said, "in both subjects."

As for releasing this year's test results to school districts, Perie said testing experts must first determine the overall validity of the results.

KU and state education officials will meet with an advisory committee of national testing experts this week, she said, to discuss that matter. The committee will help evaluate if the test results are valid at the state level, the district level, the school level and the student level.

She said she believes the state-level aggregate results will be valid, but wouldn't speculate as to whether results would be valid for individual districts, schools and students. …

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