Testing Industry and Liquidated Damages

By: Tonya Mead, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, CHFI, CFE

Standardized assessment companies are quick to act to safeguard their intellectual property and copyrighted information (test questions and item banks). They are less surefooted regarding computer glitches, data breaches and the unauthorized re-selling of student confidential data that negatively impact students and families. Unless a state education agency has stringent accountability rules; not only for the schools they oversee but also for their vendors.

A few days ago, the Texas Education Agency, sanctioned ETS, its test vendor with $100K in fines related to the inaccessibility of the tests while the tests were in session. Students affected may have failed their reading or math exams as a result. How many computer glitches or failed exams go unnoticed by unsuspecting teachers and administrators?

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This is not the first time computer interruptions occurred during ETS’ operation of the state’s standardized exams. In 2016, ETS  was ” forced to pay $5.7 million in “liquidated damages” and asked it to invest $15 million of its own money to address the numerous logistical issues that plagued test-takers that spring, including online testing and shipping, test scoring and reporting results.”

Thanks Texas for holding your standardized test vendor accountable. One can only hope that other school systems across the nation are as vigilant as Texas.

Tonya J. Mead, PhD, MBA, M.Ed,CFE, CHFI, PI, formerly a certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC http://ishareknowledge.com  If you like her work, please support her at Patreon.

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