Monday, October 17, 2005

The Testing Mulligan

I guess that one could say that this is a mixed blessing:
A testing company that incorrectly scored online Standards of Learning tests this summer, keeping five students from graduating, has offered those students $5,000 scholarships.

Pearson Educational Measurement administered the online high school English tests to those who previously had failed them. In all, 60 Virginia students were told they failed again when they actually passed.

The students who were held from graduating before the error was discovered were from Portsmouth and Fairfax and Chesterfield counties. Pearson worked with school divisions to contact graduates' families Thursday and Friday, said David Hakensen, Pearson's vice president for public relations.

Roanoke school officials alerted the company to the problem on Sept. 27 after a student who had passed the test was listed as failing it, said Charles B. Pyle, Virginia Department of Education spokesman.

Pearson recalculated scores for students in 41 school divisions and found 60 of those who were told they had scored 399 actually had scored 401. It takes a 400 to pass.

Pearson recently won a $139.9 million contract to take over the state's SOL testing program next year. It had been subcontracting the work.

"This is not common at all," Hakensen said. "This is a very unusual occurrence for us."

In 2000, a Pearson scoring error caused 8,000 Minnesota students to flunk and kept 50 seniors from graduating. The company offered $7 million to wronged students in a mass settlement.
I know that the testing company is trying to compensate the five students but where does a youngster go to get his or her graduation day back?
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