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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A national study of public school testing procedures ranks Wyoming's standardized tests among the worst in the nation.

The "Testing the Testers 2003" survey, released last week by the Princeton Review, ranked Wyoming's standardized tests 44th in the nation. Top states on the list include New York, Massachusetts and Texas.

"As I look through the report, I don't have issues with it," said Trent Blankenship, state superintendent of public instruction. "I think they did a thorough job of looking at our tests."

"One of the things I ran on was revising the tests," he said.

State tests will be redesigned in the coming year by a task force formed last month. Blankenship and Gov. Dave Freudenthal both sit on the committee.

Wyoming, which ranks ahead of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, received an overall score in the survey of 54.5. New York scored the highest at 88.5.

The Princeton Review looked at data in four major categories to give states their rankings. Those include how well tests are aligned with curriculum standards, how well tests determine those standards have been met, how many policies are in place for improvement, and how well the testing systems affect education.

Wyoming received an "F" in the alignment category, an "A" in accountability, a "C" in improvement and a "B-" in policy.

Blankenship said those scores should be better.

The Wyoming task force was formed in response to the federal No Child Left Behind legislation passed in 2001. The law requires school district's to bring every student up to grade level by 2014. Many states have already realigned testing procedures to comply.

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"Test items should be usable," Blankenship said. "They should be designed in such a way that they promote good education."

Blankenship said the failing grade does not say anything about the quality of instruction or academic achievement because test scores also reflect geographic, economic and social factors.

Blankenship said the Princeton report reaffirms what he has believed since he started his job last year.

"We need to spend our money on data that is meaningful to student performance," he said. "We need to put protocol in place that is useful for our high-achieving students and for our students with learning issues."

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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