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Potential Delay in TAKS Results

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

Below is information I received from Executive Director: Jim Parsons; Coordinator of Student Assessment

On Sunday evening, Jim Parsons spoke to a TEA student assessment staffer to confirm a fear he had about a side-effect of the H1N1 flu school closures. The delays in testing and/or shipping completed documents caused by flooding or school closures will probably cause a delay in everyone receiving test results.  In other words, even though Humble ISD didn’t close any schools until after testing was completed, and we did everything on schedule, our results will be delayed, too.

The reason is this:  Before the testing contractor determines the final cut scores for the tests, they must score a very large sample of all the tests.  That process, part of the “post-test equating” activities, is designed to make certain that the exams are of equal difficulty across years.  Field test item analysis gave estimates of the difficulty levels of each item on each test, but only the final results confirm those estimates.  To be certain, they must check, recalculate, and possibly make changes before all tests can be scored.

About 300,000 Texas students are now out of closed schools.  TEA estimates about 150,000 should have had TAKS tests.  Because those missing tests are not randomly distributed across Texas, the tests they will have may not be representative of all students in the state.  The closing of Ft. Worth ISD made a huge difference.  That’s why they can’t just proceed with the tests they get on schedule.

We were originally scheduled to receive the reports by May 22.   There could be a day-for-day slide.  That is, each day’s delay in TEA getting all tests in Austin could mean a day’s delay in our getting results.  That could possibly push the results past the end of the school year.

TEA must still make some final decisions about how all of this is handled.  Look for official announcements sometime this week.

BTW, the Agency will also need to make some decisions that may affect accountability, too.  Jim will be talking to the head of accountability today to see if he can get some sort of forecast.

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