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The Stress Test

January 28, 2014

Today, students across Oklahoma will suspend learning for two hours to participate in a state-mandated test of the computer systems that testing companies – CTB/McGraw-Hill and Measured Progress – will be using in a few months. Each of these companies gets millions from Oklahoma, but it is the students and teachers across the state testing their system for them.

Wargames_Computer_Screenshot - Copy

The frustration caused from this is threefold. First, tests are way more important than they should be. They determine graduation, promotion to fourth grade, and public perception of our schools. We want the systems to work. More importantly, though, we want time to teach. Reading. Math. Science. History. Music. Computer education. Every time we go into the computer lab to test or pretend test, we lose valuable instructional time. In many schools throughout the state, computer classes get the worst end of the deal.

Second is the fact that with some of this, we are taking a practice test for practice tests. Measured Progress is developing tests that we will use next year. They are going to conduct field testing item tryouts during the testing window this spring. The hour schools spend on this will be a complete waste of time. Hopefully this doesn’t become the new standard for how we operate.

Third – and this one lingers from the original message schools received – is the threat handed down by the SDE for anyone who dares to teach from 9:00 to 11:00 today. Even though schools received a message with a much softer tone on Friday, the score hasn’t changed. I don’t believe the SDE really has the power or the will to revoke funding or credentials over this. I also don’t know anyone planning to test that belief right now.

wargames

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  1. January 28, 2014 at 8:43 am

    LOVE the WAR GAMES allusion!! Schools should figure out how many man-hours this takes, and submit a bill to OSDE with the message they’re more than welcome to send it on to the testing companies. This is free labor for them, and as you say, a loss of education for us.

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  2. Mrs. Z
    January 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

    El Reno Public Schools cancelled due to a snow day or was it to avoid the STRESS TEST in protest!!!!!!! Interesting???!!!?!?!?!

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  3. Fred Aresco
    January 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Well today we will be testing the Oklahoma College and Career Readiness Assessment Portal otherwise known as O.C.C.R.A.P. Exactly what it is too. How well they defined their own exercise….Thanks to Rob Miller at Onthe edge for this gem.

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  4. MarshDawg
    January 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    We did it. One error message after another. Different ones for every single grade level. One said others had already logged in with their names. Could not complete. Another class had their screens lock up with the phrase Goodbye on it. A third was a litany of problems when the students tried to log in. We couldn’t start up at precisely 10:00AM when we were supposed to because the software would not work properly. I could go on, but I don’t think I need to. Millions of $ going to the people creating this train-wreck that is not going into the classrooms. Time wasted to prepare for these tests that do not work. Monumental stress that is making the kids hate school and the teachers dislike their jobs. An absolute joke! I miss the old days of real teaching.

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  5. K Sword
    January 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    No problems at our school, but I was not a sixth grader taking the “test of technology trickery!” Megabucks are leaving our great state in the name of setting our students up to fail while testing. Both tests were very confusing. One could get distracted or lost trying to figure out how to work/answer the problem on the computer. Shameful…..

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  6. Rob miller
    January 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Administration of Measured Progress (OCCRA) was much smoother and questions seemed to load faster that CTB. Some students commented positively on some of the options, like being able to change the background colors. However, I worry about some of our lower students being able to navigate their way through the constructed response and tech enhanced questions. One question asked students to divide simple fractions. Instead of a multiple choice, students had to work the problem in a box using a virtual pencil. The answer had to be written somewhere in the box. Not sure how that would be graded, or what value the extra steps bring to the test.

    CTB was slow like last year. Seven out of 120 students kicked off. Two were not allowed to log back in as they were told they had completed the test.

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  7. okteacher
    January 29, 2014 at 8:01 am

    After seeing the practice test from Measured Progress, I am worried about how well my students will perform. I am currently at an “A” school, but even my high performing students seemed more interested in changing the background, font color, and virtual pencil color. There were way too many options for them to play with. On some questions if they didn’t notice they could scroll down, they wouldn’t have been able to see all of their options. The virtual pencil idea, is just stupid. Give them the opportunity to type it in. Half of the kids pencil answers were illegible. I also didn’t quite get the personification question… It allowed them to only highlight certain things, they weren’t allowed to pick all of the correct answers. It was as if the pre-determined correct answers had been picked and that’s what the students could click on.

    The idea of thinking about testing for next year, or even the CTB test this year, makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. It’s just too scary to think about.

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  1. February 11, 2014 at 8:06 pm
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