School testing came to a halt statewide early Monday because the CTB/McGraw-Hill testing company servers in New Jersey crashed around 9 a.m., state education officials said.Golly, a computer problem caused by thousands of users accessing servers at the same time. Who could have predicted?
In the last week of Oklahoma's April testing window, the outage has raised rescheduling concerns among school officials across the state.
"We're working with (McGraw) very closely" to resolve the problems, said Sherry Fair, spokeswoman with the state Department of Education.
School districts were advised to cancel online testing because of the server crash, although some students in a few schools somehow were able to complete tests.
The outage affected Oklahoma Core Curriculum tests for grades three to eight and end-of-instruction tests for students up to grade 12, officials said. [emphasis mine]
A few online tests have alternates available. But a state Education Department official told schools most incomplete tests will be invalidated and require pencil-paper testing.Read the whole thing. McGraw-Hill sounds like a clown show operation. And what happens when the problems are at the client end - when the schools' computer network is the problem?
Educators have little faith that McGraw could get paper tests to schools by Friday, particularly since the company was late in providing them before testing in the first place.
"I think it goes without saying that a company bidding on high-stakes testing should have the technology infrastructure to avoid outages such as this," said Joe Slitzker, information technology director at Sapulpa Public Schools.
Here in New Jersey, the DOE is pushing on-line testing hard. They seem to think it will work just fine; but how would they know? And where is the backup plan when something like what happened in Oklahoma inevitably happens here? Because there's no doubt what happened in Tulsa is not an isolated incident:
Nice job, Mitch: enjoying your new office, you massive, wimpy hypocrite? Of course, it was just so absolutely critical that teachers' pay get tied to test scores, even if the incompetent Daniels and his minion, Tony Bennett, couldn't set up a system that works. Now Bennett's gone and Glenda Ritz has to clean up his mess.School districts across several states are rescheduling high-stakes tests that judge student proficiency and even determine teachers' pay because of technical problems involving the test administrators' computer systems.Thousands of students in, Kentucky, and have been kicked offline while taking tests in recent weeks, postponing the testing schools planned for months and raising concerns about whether the glitches will affect scores."There's been pep rallies and spirit weeks all getting ready for this. It's like showing up for the big game and then the basketball is deflated," said Jason Zook, a fifth-grade teacher at Brown Intermediate Center in South Bend, Ind.Many frustrated students have been reduced to tears and administrators are boiling over, calling the problems "disastrous" and "unacceptable" at a time when test results count so heavily toward schools' ratings under the federal No Child Left Behind law. In places such as Indiana, where former Gov. Mitch Daniels approved changes tying teachers' merit pay to student test scores, the pressure is even greater.
She won't be alone for very long, though: these thoughtless decisions will plague our schools for years - and that plague has already spread to states all over the country. The reformies' blind faith in technology isn't going to save their agenda; it's actually going to make things far, far worse.
I'm sorry, Dave, but I'm afraid I can't administer these tests...