Strains on the national school testing infrastructure due to expanded on line testing spurred at least in part by Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are beginning to show.
This week students in the midst of computer-based state testing in Minnesota and Oklahoma experienced significant disruption in their test administrations when the computer networks involved decided to take a break.
In Minnesota, thousands of students could not take their math assessments when supporting computers at the American Institutes of Research started slowing down after 15,000 students tried to access them. Only 9,000 of those students were able to complete their tests.
In Oklahoma, students have been treated to multiple days of computer failures that shut those children off from the testing materials.
FOX-23 in Tulsa reports:
“Testing coordinator, Stephani Allen-Brown has worked hard to make this process smooth, but now it’s simply a big mess. ‘In addition to Internet problems, you have the moral (sic) of the students which you can see is deflating and they feel sort of discouraged and defeated.’”
Oklahoma uses a totally different company for testing support, raising more concerns about how widespread the problems of overstretched computing supporting assets may be for the massive amount of on line testing being created under the new Common Core State Standards.
North of us in Indiana, WIBC in Indianapolis reports that crashes have caused the state department of education to ask schools to only test half of their students at one time. Apparently, that has now turned into a suspension of testing in Indiana according to FOX 59.
There will apparently be disruption in Indiana’s planned testing window as a consequence. Indiana and Oklahoma use the same testing company, which may explain the overlapping issues.
So far, since testing here started a few days ago, Kentucky has experienced only some reportedly minor issues with one of our testing companies (Kentucky uses several) as well, but nothing approaching what is happening elsewhere. The situation may be helped here in part because local school districts get to choose their own testing dates (can you say local control working?). Thus, overloads of the central computer servers at Kentucky’s supporting testing companies are less likely.
Still, our testing window apparently will run until mid-June, so it’s too soon to claim victory.