The Lewisville Independent School District believes it has discovered a scoring flaw in an end-of-course December STAAR test, and now the district has set aside nearly $50,000 to pay to have additional tests scored again.
The issue was discovered in the December end-of-course English I and English II exams.
"What we noticed is our number of students receiving zeros on short answer essays increased significantly over prior administrations, so we alerted (the Texas Education Association) because that impacts student scores and their ability to pass or reach that advanced level," said Dr. Sarah Fitzhugh, director of assessments and accountability for Lewisville ISD.
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According to Fitzhugh, the district alerted the TEA and was told scoring was accurate and they could submit to have some rescored.
"When we did, our suspicions were confirmed," Fitzhugh said. "Several of our scores did change that positively impacted students."
Fitzhugh went on to say, "At this point in time, we question the validity of all of the scores that came in because we don't know the extent of the error that occurred."
The district subitted 162 tests to be scored again, and 33 test scores changed. Three scores went from not meeting standards to meeting standards, and six increased from meeting standards to advanced. Two students can now graduate as a result of the changes, according to Fitzhugh.
"There is so much riding on this for students, for schools for districts, ultimately for communities," said Trisha Sheffield, president of the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees. "The state of Texas has attached a lot of importance to these tests and I think what we've seen is that there's a flaw."
The district hopes the Texas Education Association and the vendor they use to score the exams, ETS, will foot the bill so more exams can be rescored for accuracy, but leaders say they'll continue with additional rescoring regardless.
"For us we believe that TEA and ETS should do whatever they need to do to make this right," Sheffield said. "We don't think that it's just gonna be Lewisville ISD that sees these problems. We do believe it will be statewide."
Other North Texas districts including, Dallas and Arlington, are also investigating to determine if scoring on their English I and English II portions of the December exam may be flawed.