Scores for New Jersey's third- and fourth-graders on the state's standardized exams were due in September, but are now expected in January. The company producing the tests, ETS, apologizes for the delay:
Princeton-based Educational Testing Service, best known for the SATs and other national exams, was initially due to file the results and scoring analysis with the state in September. However, computer problems and other issues have delayed the work, and the data is now expected to be turned in by next month.
"We apologize for these delays and we are working nonstop with districts and schools to correct data to ensure that educators have reports that accurately reflect their student populations," ETS President and CEO Kurt Landgraf said Tuesday. "We're taking steps to avoid such occurrences next year, but there is no excuse for this current situation."
State Education Commissioner William Librera said he was "confident" that ETS would remedy the problems.
The company, which is working under a four-year, $35 million contract to develop and score the tests, was criticized earlier this year after some districts received a rough run of students and their scores.
Several errors were found in demographic and other student background data, and some schools said that caused them to receive warnings that they were not meeting federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Ooops. The New Jersey Star-Ledger has more:
State officials and executives of the Educational Testing Service yesterday acknowledged a rash of errors and time delays involved with the NJ ASK exams, leaving districts without results for students beginning to prepare for the next tests.
In one case, officials said the loss of dozens of test booklets led to the state's mislabeling of two elementary schools as "underperforming."
The sum of the problems yesterday brought an extraordinary public apology from ETS President Kurt Landgraf, as the Lawrence- based firm began returning the last of the scores. The tests in reading and math were given to 210,000 third- and fourth-graders last May.
Part of the issue was the time crunch:
The state was under time pressures to get the tests up and running by spring and chose Princeton-based ETS over several other nationally recognized firms, even at a far higher cost.
The administration and scoring of the tests were without incident, officials said, but the problems began as ETS returned scores for the fourth-grade test this fall and discovered errant codes for schools or students in nearly 150 districts.Posted by kswygert at December 17, 2003 04:34 PM