October 19th, 2005

Finding Nemo: Dude!

Huh Moment: Pearson Educational Measurement of Virginia

Non-Hawaii related but shows how messed up some testing companies are:

Group that graded tests wrong offers scholarships

NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) -- A testing company that incorrectly scored online versions of Virginia's high school exit exam has offered $5,000 scholarships to five students who were blocked from graduating.

The five students had already failed the English portion of the Standards of Learning test and had retaken it over the summer.

In all, Pearson Educational Measurement told 60 Virginia students they had failed when they had actually passed. Students typically first take the exam in their junior year and are allowed to retake it. Five were prevented from graduating because of the error.

Roanoke school officials alerted the company to the problem September 27 after discovering a student who had passed was listed as failing, said Charles B. Pyle, Virginia Department of Education spokesman.

Pearson recently won a $139.9 million contract to take over the state's SOL testing program next year. It had been subcontracting the work.

"This is not common at all," said David Hakensen, Pearson's vice president for public relations. "This is a very unusual occurrence for us."

In 2000, a Pearson scoring error caused 8,000 Minnesota students to flunk and kept 50 seniors from graduating. The company offered $7 million to wronged students in a mass settlement.

Seen at http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/10/17/testing.error.ap/index.html

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Jabbar Gibson

Forgot to add this. I admire this guy:

From http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory2/3334317

My hero is a bus thief
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

When I heard President Bush on Thursday morning call for "zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this," it gave me shivers.

I know he wanted to send a tough message to thugs stealing guns, drugs and flat-panel televisions, holding up hospitals, shooting at helicopters.

But doesn't he realize he would be heard by the moral equivalent of school administrators?

These are people who suspend girls for bringing Midol in their purses or butter knives in their lunchboxes.

What would they do to a kid who steals a bus?

When he arrived at the Astrodome about 10 p.m. Wednesday, 20-year-old Jabbar Gibson modestly confessed that he had commandeered a school bus in New Orleans, then picked up about 70 passengers before heading out for the 13-hour trek to Houston.

Stealing a bus is a felony.

It's also an act of heroism.

There's something about the obliteration of a city and all its survival systems of social support and discipline that messes with moral norms.

When they arrived at the Astrodome, Gibson and his passengers raised another moral question. Should they be let in?

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Seen at http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3335904