Lewisville ISD finds flaws in STAAR tests scoring

After Lewisville ISD saw a red flag when its brightest students did badly on the December STARR End of Course exams, they started investigating and submitted some tests to be re-graded. What they found alarmed them and are concerned tests statewide could’ve been graded wrong.

"What we noticed is the number of students receiving zeros on short answer essays increased significantly over past administrations,” said Dr. Sarah Fitzhugh with the school district.

The district complained to the Texas Education Agency who told them the test was accurate and the scoring by vendor ETS was correct but invited the district to submit tests for re-scoring.

"And when we did, our suspicions were correct,” said Fitzhugh. “Several of our scores did change that positively impacted the students.”

Twenty-five percent of the re-scored tests improved. Some students would not have been able to graduate based on their initial score.

"We question the validity of all the scores that came in because we don’t know the exact extent of the error that occurred,” said Fitzhugh.

LISD wants several thousand tests to be re-scored and want TEA or the vendor ETS to waive the re-scoring fee of $25 per test.

In an email to FOX 4, the TEA said “it has and continues to be in touch with both our testing vendor and the Lewisville ISD regarding this issue.”

"We believe that TEA and ETS should do whatever they need to do to make this right,” said Lewisville Board President Trisha Sheffield “We don’t think it’s just going to be Lewisville ISD that sees these problems. We do believe that it will be statewide."

The district was reimbursed for the tests they submitted for re-scoring where grades improved. While the board has approved up to $50,000 to cover additional re-scoring fees, the board president says what happened is not the school’s fault and should not have to pay to make sure there are no more errors.

A TEA employee tells FOX 4 some other districts have raised concerns about this same issue but could say which districts or exactly how many.