Glitch hits 558 school tests
Blank Hawaii State Assessment tests are mistakenly scored
A scanning glitch wrongly assigned scores to 558 blank tests during the latest Hawaii State Assessment, according to an initial review of 1,971 exams that had been suspected of having errors.
So far, the mistake accounts to well below 1 percent of the 93,000 booklets distributed for the annual test taken in the spring by public school students from third through eighth grade as well as 10th grade, said Kent Hinton, director of assessment for the state Department of Education.
"They received scores when they shouldn't have. They were blank booklets," Hinton said.
The 558 tests flagged were blank in both the multiple-choice and writing portions of the exams, which quiz students in reading and math, Hinton said.
State education officials have said the problem is unlikely to affect the standing of 182 schools that met federal progress benchmarks this year. They say a school's average performance should actually improve once the low-scoring, blank tests are removed.
The review was conducted by the American Institutes for Research, a Washington, D.C.-based company that received a $27.3 million, three-year state contract in January 2006 to replace mistake-prone Harcourt Assessment Inc.
American Institutes officials accepted blame for the errors that emerged this summer when teachers noticed scores had been given to students who had been absent during the testing. The company, which originally said there were possible scoring errors in at least 1,682 test booklets, decided to include 1,971 exams in its first review phase "just to make sure," Hinton said.
The company plans to re-scan the remaining tests by Dec. 1.