Mistake invalidates state test scores

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Human error in administrating ninth-grade state student assessment tests result in no-score reports for math and writing for most of the Englewood High School freshmen.

“Two teachers were proctoring the ninth-grade math and writing tests,” Karen Brofft, Englewood assistant school superintendent, said. “They were trained and prepared to administer three tests per day in a scheduled order. Somehow there was a mistake and the mix up in how the tests were given resulted in what is called misadministration of state tests.”

The district sent a March 15 letter to the parents of all Englewood High School students explaining the issue and the state rules dictating what happened is the case of misadministration of a state assessment test.

“I read the letter and I guess I understand the problem,” Englewood resident Tanya Harrison said. “My step daughter is a sophomore and this doesn’t impact her. But I am glad the district let everyone know what happened.”

Brofft said the situation happened because the schedule called for students to take math test 1, writing test 1 and writing test 2 on the first day and to take writing test 2 the next day. The proctor team mistakenly had the students take math test 1, math test 2 and writing test 1 the first day.

“The next day, the proctors realized their mistake and reported it to the school, who called me and I then reported it to the Colorado Department of Education,” Brofft said. “The rules are if tests are misadministered, students could talk about the test which would give students who were taking the test later taking an advantage. The result is the scores of all those who took the misadministered tests become a zero.”

The assistant superintendent said the teachers proctoring the test felt very bad about their mistake and she said the school took the appropriate action in the matter. However, since this is a personnel matter, she said the names of the teachers will not be released.

There are a total of 160 Englewood High School ninth graders who took the test in question. The misadministered math test was given to 144 freshmen and that means their official scores on those tests will be zero. Scores for the 16 freshmen who weren’t part of the misadministered session will be recorded and reported.

The opposite is the case with the writing tests. The scores 144 ninth-graders recorded in writing will be reported while the scores for the 16 who were in misadministered session will be zero.

“This is an unfortunate situation,” the assistant superintendent said. “We are working with the state department of education so they will provide raw test scores for those who will officially be scored zero. That is important so the students know how they did on the tests and so teachers can determine who might need additional help in those subjects.”

Janelle Asmus, a spokesperson for Colorado Department of Education said misadministration of assessment tests doesn’t happen regularly but it does happen.

“We are pleased Englewood reported the problem immediately,” she said. “The prompt reporting to the school, parents and the district is what we encourage and expect all our school and districts to do.”