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