JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State education officials said Wednesday that 10 Mississippi high school students were allowed to graduate only because of testing errors in their favor, but the state won't revoke their diplomas.
Associate state Superintendent Paula Vanderford said in a statement that no students failed to graduate because of scoring errors that worked against them.
The State Board of Education fired Pearson PLC last week after the company told Mississippi officials that it used the wrong table to score U.S. history exams for students on track to graduate. Out of 951 students, mostly seniors, the department says 197 passed. Of those 197, 36 students benefited from scoring errors, but 26 of those lacked other requirements to graduate.
Pearson lost a contract worth $24 million over the next six years to provide tests for history, high school biology, fifth-grade science and eighth-grade science. The board hired Minnesota-based Questar Assessment to administer the tests for one year for $2.2 million. The board will seek a new permanent vendor. Pearson had given the tests for Mississippi since 2000.
Overall, 27,000 high school students took the history test this spring, most of them juniors. The department will release that data to districts Friday and says it will guide districts on what to do if local officials have questions about any other test results.
Formerly, every student had to pass each of Mississippi's four subject tests in biology, history, algebra and English to earn a high school diploma. Now, students can fail a test and still graduate if class grades are high enough, they score well enough on other subject tests, they score above 17 on part of the ACT college test, or earn a C or better in a college class. Eventually, the tests will count for 25 percent of the grades in each subject.