Oh the glitches, those lovely glitches

So it appears there’s been some technical issues with the latest round of computer based testing. The question I will most certainly ask of my local school administrators when the time is right is: What will be considered tolerable? When 10% of students experience online testing “inconveniences?” Will it be 20%, 50%? The tests are high-stakes enough, then they have to go throw a Denial of Service attack on top of it, or random screen crashes, or back-end server failures, or whatever it will be next.

When these tests, across many states, are attached to such high stakes as grade promotion, teacher effectiveness, federal grant money, and more, these “glitches” are entirely unacceptable. Oh, and in many states, this is the second straight year of “glitches”. The phrase “Not Ready for Prime Time” comes to mind.

April 2, 2014: Kansas (here)

April 22, 2014: Oklahoma (here and here)

“A similar glitch stalled testing last year in Oklahoma, as well as in Indiana, Kentucky and Minnesota. Of those, Indiana also used CTB/McGraw-Hill as its testing vendor.”

April 23, 2014: Florida (here)

I am pretty certain we will probably be adding New York to this list next year or the subsequent year.

So now tell me how these test results can be used to measure anything of value? Or used to make any high-stakes decision? Not only can you not compare these tests to results of prior years of pencil/paper based testing, you can’t even begin to set the baseline for the new CBTs.

Here’s the recent response from Pearson: A Message Regarding Pearson’s Online Testing Services

The US federal government’s attempt at getting a web site ready to handle the crush of simultaneous visitors was very unsuccessful this past October. Do we think that the mad rush to get SBC or PARCC testing up and running will be any different. I don’t … and I really don’t think these testing consortium’s are heading any warnings nor learning from past non-education sector mistakes.

Related:
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2014/04/oklahoma_students_face_second_.html
http://dianeravitch.net/2014/04/22/fairtest-computer-test-failures-are-common/

Pretty decent summary of the upcoming computer based testing.
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/04/23/29cc-promises.h33.html

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