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State Launches New System To Alert The Public To Test Score Updates

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced...

Photo by Megan Wood / inewsource

Above: California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the new data alert system in a June press release.

The state’s education department has announced a new system to notify the public about data releases and updates to existing test score data on its website.

The notice came on June 14, one day after inewsource reported on discrepancies it found in 2016 Advanced Placement (AP) test scores published by the California Department of Education. The accuracy of the standardized test scores published by the state is important to school officials who compare school performance and parents who use it to help decide where to send their children to school.

Up to this point, only county, district and charter school administrators receive a direct notification when files like this are updated – the public does not.

That is changing with a new Listserv that will notify subscribers each time new data is released or updated in its DataQuest application or to any of its downloadable files. You must register for the Listserv in order to receive the notices.

In the story last week, inewsource reported that the department had published an incorrect file containing 350,000 more AP tests than had actually been taken, throwing off pass rates across the state.

Since publication, the state updated the AP data. Although it says the numbers are now accurate, inewsource found the file reports 4,000 more tests taken in 2016 when compared to data published by the College Board, which administers the tests and sends results to the state. The new file also accounts for 1,500 more students than actually took the test.

Jenny Singh, an administrator with the department’s data reporting division, said initial inaccuracies resulted when two data processors grabbed the wrong data file and posted it to the website. She said it was “just a mistake that was made.”

She said prior years also have smaller inconsistencies of 200 to 2,000, but the numbers are “pretty close and pretty consistent” with College Board data. Singh did not respond to further questions about discrepancies in the updated file.

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