Share “Computer glitches derail school tests in 4...”

Computer glitches derail school tests in 4 states

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2013 at 7:50 pm •  Published: May 1, 2013
Advertisement

Indiana suspended testing Monday and Tuesday, the same days Oklahoma reported problems.

One Oklahoma lawmaker called for a moratorium on testing this year.

"We'll just start over next year when the testing provider has its act together," said Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville, a longtime school administrator. "It's just not fair to these students to make them re-take tests two or three times or accept a score based on a partial test that may or may not be accurate because of technology problems."

Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi said the department is working to remedy the problem and then will determine "how to proceed with accommodations for the districts."

CTB/McGraw-Hill spokesman Dan Sieger said by email Wednesday that the company was focused on ensuring testing stability and regrets the "impact on these schools and students." The company ran simulations to prepare for the tests in Indiana but did not "fully anticipate the patterns of live student testing."

"The interruptions are not acceptable to students and educators or to CTB/McGraw-Hill," the statement said.

The company said students interrupted midway through testing would be able to pick up where they left off. Still, some worried whether all answers were recorded.

Rachel Burke of Indianapolis said the computer had indicated her daughter, Katherine, a fifth-grader at Raymond Park Intermediate Academy, finished a section of the test with 23 questions just as it crashed Monday. But she believes there should have been 30 questions.

"So she thinks she was finished, but she's not sure," Burke said.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said there's "no question" the state will have to review any data gathered in the past few days, when at least 27,000 third- through eighth-grade students were kicked offline during tests.

"After we get everybody assessed, we're going to have to look at the validity of the assessments themselves," Ritz said.

Testing resumed Wednesday with minimal disruptions after districts halved the number of students taking the online tests at any one time, Ritz said.

This isn't the first time CTB/McGraw-Hill has struggled with assessments.

The Connecticut Department of Education fined CTB/McGraw-Hill $300,000 in 2004 for errors and delays in scoring its Mastery Test, the largest fine allowed under the state's contract.

In 2011, up to 10,000 Indiana students statewide were logged off and some were unable to log back in for up to an hour while taking the test. The state invalidated 215 scores that year because they were lower than expected.

About 9,000 Indiana students were kicked offline during the test last year.

Indiana and Oklahoma have extended this year's testing deadlines to ensure schools have enough time to complete the exams.

In Minnesota, Briner said it's too early to speculate about the impact of the problems. She said testing is still going on across the state.

"We're monitoring the situation on a daily if not hourly basis," she said.

__

Tom Coyne reported from South Bend. Associated Press writers Tim Talley in Oklahoma City, Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis and Ken Kusmer in Indianapolis contributed to this report.