- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Education officials are considering whether technological problems and Internet attacks made results from school tests administered in Kansas this year invalid.

The annual math and reading tests were disrupted this year by problems with the state’s new test delivery system. When those problems eased, the tests were hit by Internet attacks. The state’s students finished the tests last week.

The problems have raised questions about whether Kansas would have enough testing data to release accurate results, and whether individual test questions were valid, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1gSKSjV ).

Marianne Perie, director of the University of Kansas’ Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, which designs and administers the tests, said university and state education officials will meet with an advisory committee of national testing experts to determine if the results are valid at the state, district, school and student levels. The testing center likely will make a recommendation to the state education department on the matter next month, she said.

When testing began in March, many schools weren’t able to access and complete tests, prompting some districts to change their testing procedures. That raised concerns about whether Kansas would have enough testing data this year to release accurate results and to explore whether individual test questions were valid.

In April, hackers flooded the network with traffic to slow down the testing before the university was able to block the attacks. Schools completed about 90 percent - 556,000 of 620,000 - of the math, science and reading tests they had registered to take.

Perie said she believes the state-level aggregate results will be valid, but it’s unclear whether the results will be valid for individual districts, schools and students.

The testing center is checking whether the 556,000 tests were fully completed or if the technical problems may have prevented students from finishing the tests before submitting them.

“And we’re looking at it by district, because that will help us determine what we report,” Perie said.

If test results are found to be invalid at some level, Perie said her center would not want to release those results.

Interim education commissioner Brad Neuenswander said last month the education department may seek permission from the U.S. Department of Education not to release results if they are considered invalid.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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