This item originally appeared in the September 23, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By ERIN HOPKINS
Errors made in the grading of Praxis II caused 22 Tech students to fail the exam. The errors occurred on the tests taken between January 2003 and June 2004. Educational Testing Services of Princeton, N.J. notified the students in July.
"The Praxis is a series of very important tests, that if passed, the students then earn state certification and are able to teach," Dr. Jo Ann Dauzat, dean of the College of Education, said.
Dauzat said the Praxis is broken up into two separate tests. Praxis I is an assessment of the student's general academic knowledge. Praxis II consists of three different tests that assess different areas of the student's knowledge. The first section of Praxis II, where the errors occurred, is designed to assess beginning teaches' knowledge of job-related topics.
"The students work hard to get to this point. It's discouraging to then be told you have failed," Dauzat said.
Dauzat said the students who were told they failed this portion of the test were not able to take the next sections or become certified.
Students may not have another opportunity to take the tests again because they are given on national testing days that are anywhere from three months to a year apart.
Dauzat said the students received refunds as a reimbursement for the cost of taking the tests, but whether the students have cashed those checks is unknown.
Some students have filed lawsuits against the ETS.
According to a report made by the ETS, about 4,100 students total were affected, and about 400 of those students are in Louisiana.
Katie Bozeman, a graduate student in secondary education, said she was one of the students affected by the errors, but was able to pass the test regardless and advance through the program.
"It was a really big hassle, and I was hoping to have a teaching job in Shreveport," Bozeman said.
"I had to turn it down because of the mistake."
Other students have either retaken the exam, moved on to their student teaching or have changed their major.
Kimberly Tanner, office coordinator for the College of Education, said, "[The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] keeps us from being able to give out the names of the students affected, but we are trying to help them out anyway we can."