Monday, February 16, 2009

So Much For Standardized Testing

Error on test spotted by Kan. student 1 year later

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A high school student's keen eye has caught a state test error that managed to slip past teachers, test coordinators and other students for almost a year. Geoffrey Stanford, 17, discovered during a Kansas writing test last week that an essay question concerning greenhouse gases incorrectly used the word "omission" for the word "emission," prompting the Wichita East High School junior to point out the error.

"I thought, 'Surely they're not talking about leaving out carbon dioxide altogether.' It just didn't make sense," Stanford said. "It had to be a mistake."

The state Department of Education has e-mailed a corrected version of the essay question to test coordinators around the state, but the incident already has caused a lot of red faces at the department, which used a committee of more than 30 state teachers to develop the test almost two years ago. The questions had been tested in 50 high schools last spring.

"You hate that sort of thing to happen, but it happens," said Karla Denny, an Education Department spokeswoman and former English teacher. "We're human."

No one before Stanford had reported the error, Denny said. Stanford said he is careful with his written work and called himself a "stickler for grammar and vocabulary and the correct use of words." "It annoys me when I see mistakes," he said.

Stanford's discovery has caught national attention, even earning him an appearance Sunday on the Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" morning show. "It's been hilarious, because I just never thought it would get to this point," he said. "Some people are saying, 'Good job,' and some are giving me a little grief about it."


Highly Effective King Clovis said...

Doesn't surprise me. Though looking at the Regents exams the past 2 years, I almost thought it was a joke. Seriously, these tests are so easy. Kind of kills the argument when politicians are saying they are "raising the standards" when the tests are so easy, they look more like elementary tests than high school tests.

Abstract Randomizer said...

Not exactly on the same topic, but at least a similar one...
Our school board was revising regulations a few years ago and accidentally changed the penalty for some student infraction from "suspension" to "explosion" when they obviously meant "expulsion."
I had an image in my head of a kid strapped to a chair with a stick of dynamite in his mouth...or somewhere else...
Keep on posting!