Indiana seeks restitution from firm over standardized-testing problems

(By Sarah Garland)
(By Sarah Garland)

(Correction: Indiana seeking restitution from CTB/McGraw-Hill, not suing, as an earlier version said)

The state of Indiana is demanding restitution from CTB/McGraw-Hill following problems last month when students were taking standardized tests online. Nearly 80,000 students were affected when their computers froze during the testing, the results of which are used to evaluate teachers and schools.

Indiana was one of several states that reported numerous problems with online disruptions during the administration of standardized tests this past spring. Technical glitches in states including Oklahoma, Minnesota and Kentucky were so severe that officials suspended testing in some places, students cried and educators worried about how scores would be affected. Indiana appears to be the first state to be demanding restitution over these problems.

Here’s the release from the Indiana Department of Education:

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education announced preliminary damages that it will seek from CTB McGraw-Hill related to ISTEP+ interruptions experienced by schools throughout the state this spring.  These amounts are not final, and may well grow as results are reviewed by a third party and additional information is gained.

 

 

The preliminary damages amount sought will not be less than $613,600 and could reasonably go into the millions.

That amount includes $400,000 in liquidated damages provided for in the contract between the Department of Education and CTB.  It also includes $53,600 that the Department will spend to have a third party conduct an analysis of the scores of students that had their testing sessions interrupted and at least $160,00 for other related costs associated with enhanced reporting data.

 

In addition to the preliminary damages, additional damages may be sought after further investigation.  Those potential damages include, but are not limited to:

– Reimbursement to Indiana schools for additional costs incurred to administer ISTEP+ during the extended testing window.

– Reimbursement to the Indiana Department of Education for additional costs incurred because of ISTEP+ testing interruptions.

 

“I have worked closely with CTB throughout the entire ISTEP+ testing process,” said Superintendent Ritz.  “The consequences of CTB’s server failures were real and significant for Indiana schools.  As Superintendent, I will work to ensure that schools are made whole while continuing to negotiate with CTB in good faith.”

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | June 22, 2013