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April 15, 2010 3:41 am

PAWS test scores

Written by Tribune Staff

Results usable for Powell despite problems with test

State testing of Wyoming's school kids encountered a number of problems this year, but the results still are usable for Powell schools.

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride announced early this week that he would ask the U.S. Department of Education not to use the scores of this year's PAWS assessment in determining Wyoming schools' compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act.

McBride made the request after a number of technical problems were experienced by schools around the state during administration of the online portions of the test. He said technical support from NCS Pearson, the company that developed the test in cooperation with the state department, was poor. The difficulties raised questions about the accuracy of the results, prompting McBride's request.

Despite the concerns, Park County School District No. 1 Superintendent Kevin Mitchell said the PAWS results will still be useful for Powell schools in assessing their progress.

“We didn't have too many errors when we administered the test,” Mitchell said. “We'll use the data as always.”

Mitchell said McBride's request was made primarily to protect schools that experienced the problems from federal action for failing to make adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind based on flawed results.

“We don't want the feds beating up on a district whose results were affected by the problems with the test,” Mitchell said. “In Powell we can still use the results. We may have done well, and if we gained, we certainly don't want the results thrown out.”

McBride said the U.S. Department of Education has promised to work with the state in evaluating the situation.