The grading of New York Regents high school exams had to be delayed after a technology glitch prevented them from being scanned correctly after they were administered in New York City schools, reports Ben Chapman of the New York Daily News. The delay – which the company McGraw-Hill is asking teachers to work extra hours to rectify – is raising the concerns among some high school seniors that they will not be able to graduate on time.
The number of exams still to be graded is in the thousands, although officials with the NYC Board of Education promised to get the results back to the students "as soon as possible." Meanwhile, affected seniors will be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies at their schools, although they will not receive their diplomas until the issue is sorted out.
Due to the glitch, the papers had to be rescanned – something that took time as hundreds of teachers waited without anything to do. Both automatic and manual grading was supposed to be completed yesterday, but now graders will need to put in additional time this weekend, and after school next week, to get it finished.
The city awarded a three-year, $9.6 million contract to McGraw-Hill to run the operation — but the company failed to pick up the exams from a warehouse and upload them into a computer system to be scored on time. This is the first year city teachers were barred from grading their own students' Regents exams as part of a statewide effort to crack down on inflating scores. On top of the scoring snafu, city officials lost 80 English Regents exams taken by students at Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School.
Graders at 20 centers around the city indulged in griping at the expense of McGraw-Hill as they waited to be given the rescanned papers. Gregg Lundahl, who teaches government at Washington Irving High School called it "a blunder on many levels." At least one Brooklyn teacher took a swipe at the fact that the city was cutting education budgets to schools while investing in programs that didn't work right.
"We have so many budget cuts, and yet there's all this money for this system which is not doing what it's supposed to be doing."
Erin Hughes, the spokeswoman for the DOE, acknowledged the problem but said that teething pains are always to be expected during the rollout of a new, complex system.
But teachers were skeptical. "This is how they treat the children?" asked a teacher from the Chelsea school, who asked to remain anonymous. "They need to find those damn exams."