Student waits in limbo until lost test results located
June 13, 2005
Lost results on an April math proficiency test were returned to a Carson High School senior the day before graduation, his mother said.
“They said they found it in their tomb of missing tests,” said Renee Brewer. “How come we had to wait the day before graduation to find out? That was wrong, just wrong.”
That was days after the results from the May math proficiency test came in, bringing news that her son hadn’t passed that test. They pinned their hopes on the April proficiency.
“Everything depended on that test and they couldn’t find it,” she said. “He was feeling very positive that he passed.”
Brewer said she receive a response within 40 minutes from the state the day before Carson High’s graduation after she called Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, for help. She said she has been told by state officials that her son failed the April proficiency by one question and now she plans to go into the state department offices to see that score on paper.
“They are going to show me the test score,” she said. “They said they did it by machine and then they hand graded it to make sure.”
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But her frustrations began at the school, which she said at first questioned that her son ever took the test.
“The school told me that they didn’t have any proof that he took the test,” she said. “They asked me if I could prove that he took it.”
But Carl Henry, vice principal of curriculum and testing, said the school has her son’s booklet test number and his name on the attendance roster. He said the same number of testing sheets that were given out to students that day were turned in to Measured Progress, the new company handling testing results for the state this year.
“We certainly sympathize with the young man,” Henry said. “We understand the frustration, but it was out of our hands once we turned our materials in.”
He said he recalls only one other test score problem with Measured Progress this year. In that case, test scores were mixed up for twin brothers at the school.
“There’s never been anything else as far as I’m aware of,” he said “I’ve never heard of anybody’s test results vanishing into thin air.”
Without a diploma, her son is unable to enter the U.S. Navy. She said her boy should be given a diploma because of the trouble caused by the misplaced scores.
Paul LeMarca, assistant superintendent for the state, disagrees.
“There’s a state law that requires that for a high school diploma you pass the reading, writing and math proficiency tests,” he said.
“The test that seems to be the greatest barrier to most kids is the math test. We give students multiple opportunities to take the math test.”
That includes one time in 10th grade, twice in 11th grade and four times in 12th grade. Brewer’s son will try to pass the test again in July, and could still receive his diploma.
“I don’t think I agree that this somehow stilts a child’s opportunity to fulfill their dreams to reach their true potential,” he said.
Nevada switched to Measured Progress this year after experiencing problems with test score results reported by Harcourt Education Progress.
“I’m not excusing any problems,” LeMarca said. “But transitions between contractors are very difficult times and we are going through some growing problems.”
He said he’s received several reports of missing scores this spring, scores which have been found or are in the process of being located.
In May, two seniors in Washoe County and one senior in Clark County were told to take the May proficiency tests because their April test scores could not be found. According to LeMarca, the number of students testing in the spring is huge – some 220,000.
“I would suggest to you in every single case we’ve been contacted about, every effort has been made to locate information and deal with the problem,” he said.
Because of confidentiality issues, he was unable to confirm that that Brewer’s son’s issue had been resolved. Brewer is upbeat.
“Once he gets his diploma, he’s good,” she said. “He can do anything he wants then. A diploma makes a big difference these days.”
n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Nevada proficiency exams
WHAT: All high school seniors in the state must pass the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam in the areas of reading, writing and math to receive a diploma.
Carson High School’s proficiency exam results:
• Reading Proficiency: Seven seniors failed, two were special education, three wouldn’t have graduated because they were credit deficient and two were English as a second language students
• Writing Proficiency: Four seniors failed, three were credit deficient and one was a special-education student who received an adjusted diploma
• Math Proficiency: 34 seniors failed, 19 were special education, five were credit deficient, six were English-as-a-second-language students.