ST. PAUL (AP) -- New safeguards will prevent a repeat of scoring errors that mistakenly told about 8,000 Minnesota students they failed last year's statewide standardized math test, school officials said.
The state education department has delayed the launch of a series of new tests, boosted the staffing of its testing section and added layers of oversight on the release of new test scores.
"The process we put in place will ensure this never happens again," said Jessie Montano, assistant commissioner of the Department of Children, Families and Learning. "It's triple checking. It's repetition, repetition, repetition."
Some of the changes being instituted are already being felt. For example, high school students this year will not have to take a new series of reading and math tests as previously planned. The tests were to be part of the expanded Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and test students at a more rigorous level than the current Basic Standards Tests. Students must pass those basic skills tests, which they start taking in the eighth grade, to get their diploma.
Other changes in the testing procedures will also affect parents and school officials. The release of some test scores this year will be delayed weeks longer than in previous years because of the added scrutiny. Besides having an outside agency -- the University of Minnesota's Office of Educational Accountability -- look over the scores, the state will give schools an early peek at a roster of test results to examine for possible errors.
Students on Tuesday take the writing portion of the Basic Standards Test, the first statewide tests to be administered since the July announcement of the math scoring error.
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