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Missouri throws out results of two statewide high school exams

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth
St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said Wednesday that two of the state's high school annual assessments, administered during the 2016-2017 school year are "unusable."

The results for the Algebra I and English II  exam, known as the end-of-course tests, won't factor into the 2017 school accountability measurements, and won’t be publicly reported.

The state is blaming the test maker, Questar Assessment, for making the results incomparable to the tests administered in the 2015-2016 school year.

Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said the end-of-course results can be used for student grades and A+ Scholarship eligibility.

“They do not need to take the test again. People have been asking that question: Will students need to retest? And they do not,” Vandeven said, adding that the exams are not tied to graduation requirements.

In past years, the state has used test results even when the tests are different than the year before, but Vandeven said the state’s experts advised them not do so in this case.

“The big difference is that we have been telling people that they were going to be comparable. And when you start a new test, you tell people out of the gate, this is a brand new test and a brand new start,” Vandeven said.

Without results for Algebra I and English II, the quality of Missouri high schools for the 2016-2017 school year will be primarily judged on things like ACT scores and attendance.

The state also offers end-of-course tests in other areas, but only Algebra I, English II, biology and government are required.

Vandeven said her department is working with an attorney to hold Questar responsible for producing faulty tests.

Questar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Missouri high schools will be using new End-Of-Course exams during the 2017-2018 school year based on state learning standards approved in 2016.

Follow Camille on Twitter: @cmpcamille