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Options and Consequences

May 2, 2013

Based on yesterday’s guidance from the SDE, schools seem to have four options with regard to interrupted online tests:

  • Allow students to retake the online English II and III exams without the writing portion.
  • Allow students to keep their interrupted scores, if they already have enough questions answered correctly to pass.
  • Allow students (even those with a passing score already) wanting a higher score to retest.
  • Order paper tests for students who did not get a chance to finish.

Having had twelve hours to reflect (on the guidance – three days overall), here’s what I think the consequences of this debacle should be:

  • Students who have passed English II and Algebra I at their schools this year should be awarded a passing score on the exams.
  • CTB/McGraw-Hill needs to be fired. And they need to provide restitution to the state.
  • The SDE should abandon the A-F Report Cards, at least for a year, while failsafe measures are put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
  • Schools chasing improvement targets under the NCLB waiver should not be penalized in any way because of incomplete/unusable data.
  • Revamp the contract for the state testing program with assurances that schools will have usable data before Memorial Day each year.

That said, the guidance seems to indicate that the SDE thinks we can still use all of the test scores just by extending the window by two days. What they fail to understand is the level of stress this process causes under good conditions. Add to that the disruptions endured this week, and all parties involved are at their wits end. Students (and teachers) are leaving their testing stations in tears.

This is not exaggeration. This is not drama to sell an agenda. This is real.

We’re going to ask these people to sit through it again and count the results? It’s simply unacceptable.

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  1. Teacher's Husband
    May 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Today, it was the problems in the elementary grades with system crashes and failures in required on-line testing programs associated with other testing. While not the CBT/McGraw-Hill folks, the immediate problems and consequences at these levels remain the same for students and staff. And being the younger set, well, they just don’t all handle it as well as the HS students.

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  2. DV
    May 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    With these resting disruptions, it is important to note that lawmakers and others are recognizing how much test results can be impacted by factors outside of a school’s control. What does not seem to be emphasized (or even recognized), however, is how many students under ‘normal testing conditions’ have already been impacted by factors outside of school–coming to school hungry, wondering what house they will go home to or even if mom and dad will be together when they get off the bus. The SDE could give a rather precise number for how many students were negatively impacted by the crash of the servers; I wonder what that number would be if the SDE would widen their definition of those impacted by factors outside of the schools’ control. Or maybe said differently, how many of these measures don’t come close to evaluating what they claim to…

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