Federal agency allows Kansas to withhold results from statewide math, reading tests

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TOPEKA, Kansas — Federal education officials have granted a request from Kansas to not release test results that experts say are invalid due to technical problems and cyberattacks that plagued the state's computer-based exams.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1pitylL ) that decision means parents, teachers and school administrators won't be able to see how specific students, schools or school districts performed in mathematics and reading. Only generalized information about how Kansas students did on certain test items will be released.

"There were so many problems this year," Kansas State Board of Education chairwoman Jana Shaver said. "It was just not feasible or fair in my opinion to release (the) data."

Kansas students take computer-based state math and reading tests in grades three through eight and once in high school. A federal requirement that typically makes the results public allows parents to receive their children's scores. The public can also view overall scores for specific schools, districts or states.

Experts at the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas department that administers the state math and reading tests said the problems caused by technical glitches or cyberattacks affected up to one-third of this year's math tests and two-thirds of the English tests. That meant there isn't enough data to calculate reliable statewide scores.

The Kansas State Department of Education therefore sought permission from the U.S. Department of Education not to publish the results.

Instead, the state will make public a few of the test questions that were used at each grade level for each subject, and how students performed in answering those items.

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