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Thursday, March 12, 2015

PARCC and Pearson Accept No Vomit

Perhaps the testing companies should supply schools with bins like the one above.
As the Common Core State tests are fast approaching, you might want to be prepared for the worst.  Will you know what to do in the event that a child vomits all over his or her test paper?  It is a growing concern.

A test coordinator's manual from the State of Arizona states on page 15:

"Do not return test materials that have been contaminated with blood, vomit, or other bodily fluids to Pearson.  Provide instructions to your test Administrators for the proper handling of contaminated test materials."

Just because Pearson and PARCC create tests that cause your kids to vomit, it doesn't mean they want anything to do with it.  Hand over your failing test paper, but keep the vomit.  As long as Pearson and PARCC don't have to deal with any real physical evidence, they can tell themselves it doesn't really happen.

Here is a more elaborate set of Ohio guidelines from PARCC for dealing with "Contaminated Test Materials," pages 40-41:

.7 Procedures for Contaminated Test Materials (For Paper-Based Testing Only)
If any test materials (e.g., Test Booklets) become contaminated with bodily fluids (e.g., student becomes
ill on a Test Booklet), the following procedures must be followed.
1. The Test Administrator must immediately:
a. Stop testing for the student or group, as needed.
b. Record the amount of time remaining.
c. Record the test form number the student was using.
d. If possible, record the item number and page number where the student stopped
e. Follow your school procedure for medical emergencies.
2. Qualified school personnel must safely handle the soiled Test Booklet and place it in a
resealable, plastic bag with the security barcode label visible from the exterior. Handling
materials must be done in accordance with procedures outlined in OSHA regulations.
3. After the testing area is cleaned and the students have returned, the Test Administrator
must remind students of the amount of time remaining for the test session prior to the
disruption. Testing may then resume.
a. If the ill student returns to resume testing and the completed responses can be transcribed into a replacement Test Booklet, the Test Administrator must provide the student with the same form of a new Test Booklet. The Test Administrator must ensure the student’s name is recorded on the front of the replacement Test Booklet for proper identification.
b. If the ill student returns to resume testing and the completed responses cannot
be transcribed into a replacement Test Booklet, the student must be given the
opportunity to retake those units, using a different form and replacement Test
Booklet, during make-up testing.
4. After testing is complete, the School Test Coordinator must:
a. Apply the Student ID Label to the replacement Test Booklet prior to returning.
b. Record the security barcode number of the contaminated Test Booklet on the Form
to Report Contaminated, Damaged, or Missing Materials available in Appendix E.
c. Record the security barcode number of the replacement Test Booklet on the Chainof-Custody Form.
d. If applicable, transcribe the completed response from the contaminated Test Booklet
into a replacement one.
i. Follow the Guidelines for Transcribing Student Reponses in Section 7.4.
ii. Return the replacement Test Booklet to Pearson along with the rest of the scorable
e. Securely destroy the contaminated Test Booklet according to district biohazard
f. Compile a list of contaminated Test Booklets and maintain it on file for the length of
time specified for your state in Appendix C.

There are no guidelines for comforting or calming the student.  This may be in the back of your mind, but first and foremost, you must be focused on how to return a clean copy of that completed test to the State.  Point 3.a. has guidelines in the event that the students answers can be transcribed into a new booklet.  Although you might be tempted to send back an envelope sealed with testing material floating in vomit as a political statement, PARCC cannot be bothered.  An adult must either transcribe it and keep the vomit or keep the vomit and offer the student a makeup exam (3.b.).

Maybe you have the patience of a medieval monk.  Maybe you've tediously copied the vomit-strewn exam, hoping it does not contain germs from a plague, foolishly fooling yourself into believing it is an errand of mercy.  Can you wash your hands clean of it?  Alas, no!  Now, you have a "biohazard on your hands (4.e.)  You must dispose of it according to "district biohazard protocols."  Can you imagine how much fun you'll have reading that new set of instructions? Will you have lead containers to bury the test in the desert?  What if the soiled materials fall into the wrong hands, compromising the integrity of Pearson or PARCC?

Have you heard about the kid due for brain surgery who was harassed from his NY hospital bed in a bid to administer the test?  I'm sure you heard about the nine-year old in Florida with only a brain stem who was forced to take the State test even though he couldn't see or speak.  He was born premature, weighing just four pounds.  He had never attended school.  Yet, the test caught up with him.  I'm guessing even kids on their death beds need to take the test, too.  Before they rest in peace, the State must let them know they failed!  

If you don't feel like throwing up now, you're probably not human!  First, Pearson and PARCC would greatly appreciate if you follow their instructions:  Remove all testing materials from your vicinity.  

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