I am continuing to follow this story….
And the cracks are beginning to fall in the program….
State have begun to back out of the program even if costs them federal money…..
The testing could tax their servers and the extensive amount of time required for the program is causing parents, teachers and school administrators to complain to state education officials, who are coming under political pressure to back away from the program….
Could this all come to a ‘healthcare like’ political problem for the Federal Education Department?
The tests will be given on a massive scale: Roughly 4.2 million third through eighth graders will test the exams in math and English this spring, and 29 million students nationwide will use them starting next school year.
Last spring, Kentucky students taking digital end-of-course assessments designed by ACT had to switch to paper and pencil after slow and dropped connections complicated the testing. Alabama and Ohio students also had problems.
The Kentucky Department of Education wanted ACT to conduct a “stress test” in mid-November to see if the server could handle 20,000 students at one time. ACT was supposed to make software corrections and hardware fixes to improve the online system, but the testing company told the state those fixes wouldn’t be ready for the stress tests or next round of end-of-course exams. The stress test was ultimately canceled.
In addition, CTB/McGraw-Hill apologized last spring for interruptions after its digital testing service disrupted exams in Indiana and Oklahoma. About 3,000 students in Oklahoma lost their connections to the testing provider’s servers. And nearly 80,000 out of a half million Indiana students who took the company’s tests in the spring had their testing postponed and about 30,000 were kicked off of the testing platform on a single day of testing. One Indiana charter school has said the errors are to blame for its F grade from the state.
The company said the Indiana outage occurred because “our simulations did not fully anticipate the patterns of live student testing.” Members of the Indiana Board of Education called the situation “disastrous.”
Oklahoma dropped out of one of the groups developing Common Core tests in early July, citing technology challenges as one of its leading reasons.
Wyoming ditched its online testing system a few years ago, after network infrastructure buckled when 80,000 students tried to take state exams. The debacle cost the state superintendent his job.
Those problems and others have the potential to play out on a much larger, more public stage in the coming years.
At least four states have officially withdrawn from the testing consortia. Other states are teetering on the edge of their relationships with the federally funded groups devising the tests, decrying cost, federal overreach and the potential tech troubles. A shaky roll out could burn more bridges with those organizations and drive up the cost of testing for remaining states…..
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