Scoring the new Common Core-based tests is taking longer than anticipated in Washington state, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction doesn't know why.

Share story

Scoring student responses on new statewide reading and math exams is taking longer than expected in Washington state, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction doesn’t know why.

Unforeseen issues with the state’s brand new testing system have delayed scoring on some of the new, Common Core-based tests by several weeks, meaning schools won’t have all their students’ individual scores within three weeks after a student finishes testing, like OSPI promised.

“OSPI doesn’t have details about why scoring and score reporting are taking longer than we thought they would,”  OSPI spokeswoman Kristen Jaudon said in a prepared statement. “We regret that scores have not been reported as quickly as we had hoped and had communicated.”

OSPI is not sure how many student scores have been delayed or how many school districts across the state are affected. But the delay was big enough that Seattle Public Schools alerted families in an email last week that parents will see their students’ scores on the new tests, called Smarter Balanced, in September — not with their child’s report card in mid-June, when Seattle had hoped to send home preliminary scores.

The district says the delay will make it more challenging to use the scores to identify struggling readers before the end of the school year.

Scores on the new, computer-adaptive tests, called Smarter Balanced, were supposed to be available faster than ever — just three weeks after a student finished the test. In a flier explaining why Washington, like many states nationwide, was switching to the new exams, OSPI listed “quicker results” as one of the top 10 reasons.

Jaudon said OSPI is talking regularly with the group responsible for administering and scoring the tests — the American Institutes for Research — and will debrief later this summer to find out what happened. This is not the first problem with Smarter Balanced tests in Washington. In March, there was a temporary programming glitch that blocked all high-school sophomores from taking the exam, among other hiccups.

Despite the delay, she said, this year’s test administration has been smoother than previous years of testing, and scores will still be available to schools sooner than in years past.

Testing ended yesterday across the state.

The state is paying AIR $24 million this year to administer the Smarter Balanced tests, according to OSPI, and the group is subcontracting with Measurement Inc., for scoring. Students in grades 3-8 and high-school juniors are taking the Smarter Balanced reading and math exams, though some students — mostly juniors — have refused, saying they’ve taken too many tests already.

Sophomores here are taking the Smarter Balanced reading exams as a graduation requirement this year.