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NCLB Outrages

McGraw Hill Inadvertently Destroys West Virginia School Tests

Charleston, W.Va. -- Nearly half of the standardized tests administered to students in one West Virginia county to comply with federal
regulations were inadvertently destroyed by the scoring company before being graded, officials said Wednesday.

Of the 2,096 tests administered in Wyoming County in April, no results are available for 1,070 students, state Department of Education
spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said.

The missing tests had come from 12 of Wyoming County's 13 schools, Cordeiro said.

The West Virginia Educational Standards Test was designed by West Virginia teachers, business and community representatives and developed with CTB/McGraw-Hill. It is administered to third- through
eighth-graders and high school sophomores.

Kelley Carpenter, spokeswoman for CTB/McGraw-Hill in Monterey, Calif., said the test booklets were destroyed inadvertently when the company was disposing of material from a trial run of the test that was conducted last year.

"We conducted an exhaustive investigation," Carpenter said Wednesday. "It was an accident. We have implemented protocol to ensure that this won't happen in the future."

Carpenter would not say if any employees were disciplined or fired because of the mistake.

The test assesses students' ability in reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

Results are used as part of the state's compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which will hold schools accountable for students' progress.

Cordeiro said Wyoming County would be accountable only for the students whose tests were scored. Students will not be retested unless their parents request it.

Wyoming County Superintendent Frank Blackwell said it was unclear how the county would proceed. "We will continue to teach the children as best we can," he said.

Statewide, 150,000 students took the test in April.

— Allison Barker
Associated Press
2004-08-11


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