9 p.m. Wednesday, May 8–Oologah-Talala Superintendent Rob Armstrong tonight confirmed that server problems involving testing contractor CBT/McGraw Hill today again distrupted standardized tests for district students.
“It has reared its ugly head again. It is the same thing that happened last week,” he said. “it was just as difficult as last week.”
It was not immediately known how other Oklahoma districts fared today, but a group of lawmakers has introduced a resolution in the House to dissolve the contract with the contractor and file a lawsuit seeking financial damages to recoup money lost because of repeated testing snafus.
Armstrong said he is “all for” bold action to deal with the situation because of the damage done to students, faculty, administrators and school districts and because the test disruptions mean the results have become totally unreliable.
“They shouldn’t be part of a student’s record, a teacher’s record of a school district’s record until they (the problems) are completely corrected,” he added.
Armstrong said he had not heard anything from the State Department of Education about the latest problems.
More details will be reported at Oologah.net as they become available.
School ‘trying to make best’ of testing snafu
By CHRIS EDENS, City Editor
Oologah students have been completing state mandated tests despite problems with the testing company’s servers.
High school students taking end-of-instruction tests and third through eighth graders taking Oklahoma Core Curriculum tests ran into problems last week. Computers were freezing up during the tests because of problems with the servers at the testing company, CTB/McGraw Hill.
Tests were considered invalid if students were unable to complete them. Those students have had to re-test.
Superintendent Rob Armstrong said the situation had improved but they were still having some problems.
“We’ve continued on with minimal interruptions since last Thursday. I’m not aware of any significant server problems since last week,” Armstrong said. “Everyone is just trying to make the best of it.”
Armstrong said most of the testing for third through eighth graders had already been completed. Some students in those grades have been taking make up tests.
He said the biggest impact was on high school students taking EOI tests. Students are testing in the last subject area this week.
The state department of education sent notification to school districts that the deadline for EOI testing had been delayed until May 14 because of the problems.
“You have to question the validity of the tests because of all the problems. When you have a kid sit down to take a 50- to 75-question test and it keeps stopping in the middle of it, you have to have doubts about the results,” Armstrong said.
The high-stakes testing affects students, teachers and school districts. Armstrong said some state legislators are making efforts to invalidate the tests and not use them as an evaluation tool this year because of the problems.
High school seniors must pass four out of seven EOI exams to graduate. All Oologah seniors have passed all of their required EOI tests.
“We’re fortunate not to be in a situation where we have seniors in danger of not graduating, but we’re concerned about the effect on freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “We don’t stop at four out of seven. We want them to pass all seven.”
Armstrong said he’s even more concerned about future testing. He said new Common Core testing will be implemented in the next 12 to 24 months. He said those computer tests have video components that will require the district to upgrade computer systems.
“Concerns are growing over the Common Core testing. The fear is we’ll be right back in this situation in a year,” he said.
The problems with the current testing could be minimal compared to the Common Core testing, according to Armstrong.
“What we’ve been dealing with for the last week or so has been like pushing a pencil through the eye of a needle. Common Core will be like pushing a two by four through the eye of a needle. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.