The Edmond Sun

April 21, 2014

State suspends student testing over glitches

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Computer glitches forced state education officials to suspend online testing Monday, affecting student testing in Edmond and Deer Creek.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi said as a result of online testing disruptions for students in grades 6-8 and high school end-of-instruction (EOIs) exams she directed testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill to suspend online testing for the day.

“We certainly share in the frustration that students and school districts feel,” Barresi said. “It is of paramount importance that CTB finds the nature of the problem and resolves it as quickly as possible.”

Barresi said about 6,000 students in grades 6-8 and high school EOIs were disrupted as a result of a system-wide problem with testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill’s network.

Among them were Edmond Public Schools students. District spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said about 360 students were affected by the online testing disruptions. Edmond listed students/schools impacted:

• Memorial High School: 100 students testing for Algebra II;

• Santa Fe High School: 125 students testing for Algebra II; and

• Sequoyah High School: 135 students testing for 7th grade reading.

Later in the day, the number of Edmond students affected increased to 506, Parks-Schlepp said.

Deer Creek students were also impacted by the interruption. Deer Creek Public Schools Executive Director of Human Resources and Communications Lenis DeRieux said she sent a letter to parents via principals.

A total of 57 Deer Creek students were affected as they had begun testing when the technical issues occurred, the letter stated. Many others were in the middle of sample testing when the testing was suspended. The 57 students who were taking tests will have the opportunity to continue testing at a future date.

“We want to assure everyone that this is not a Deer Creek School District issue but again a problem that is occurring throughout the state from the company we are required by the [State Department of Education] to use for our testing,” the letter stated. “Deer Creek is highly disappointed that this occurred and frustrated for our students.”

The letter stated Deer Creek will update students and parents about future testing.

“We currently are exploring permanent options for those students disrupted,” Barresi said.

Barresi said districts were advised to allow students who were successfully testing to complete tests. Districts were asked to suspend online testing for all students who had not yet started assessments.

Barresi said the disruption did not affect third-grade reading tests, as tests for grades 3-5 are administered by paper and pencil.

CTB technicians were at the agency and in constant communication with the company’s national headquarters working to determine the exact nature of the disruption, Barresi said.

The system is designed to save student responses up to the point of disruption, so it may be possible for those students to successfully complete the test when the system is operational, Barresi said. | 341-2121 ext. 108