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ISTEP firm faces third-degree from lawmakers, big damages

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Indiana's state superintendent announced Friday she is seeking at least $614,000 in damages from CTB/McGraw-Hill for testing troubles as the company's president apologized to state lawmakers.

CTB/McGraw-Hill President Ellen Haley called the disruptions for nearly 80,000 Indiana students last month "unacceptable" Friday and said the company's online servers were "overwhelmed."

A spokesman said Haley would answer questions about the damages after she finishes testifying in front of the joint House and Senate education committee on Friday afternoon. Lawmakers from both parties have said they want answers about the troubles with the test.

Superintendent Glenda Ritz said she is seeking $400,000 for fines covered in the company's $95 million contract with the state. The additional money would pay for an independent review of the testing data, as well as better reporting data.

The amounts are not final, and could grow as more information about the tests comes to light, according to the IDOE.

Administration of the state's standardized test was thrown into chaos after online tests began freezing for hours at a time. The results are used to calculate teacher pay and school grades.

“The consequences of CTB’s server failures were real and significant for Indiana schools," Ritz said in a statement Friday. "As superintendent, I will work to ensure that schools are made whole while continuing to negotiate with CTB in good faith.” 

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