By CHRIS EDENS
Testing, testing, testing..
Oologah students facing a slew of high stakes tests ran into problems this week with the state’s online testing company.
Problems with CTB/McGraw Hill’s servers disrupted state mandated testing Monday. Districts across the state reported problems with students unable to log into the testing site and computers going down while some students were in the middle of exams.
Oologah encountered problems with online testing at the middle school and high school.
“We had some connectivity problems. The kids would get started on a test and it would stop processing. They would have to wait and reboot and begin again,” Oologah Superintendent Rob Armstrong said. “It’s not seamless like it’s supposed to be but we haven’t had as many problems as some other districts.”
Oologah High School Principal Robert Schornick said problems with the testing vendors servers and software disrupted EOI testing Monday. He said they were able to successfully administer tests on Tuesday.
“We started geometry EOI tests last week and we had some minor issues. We had major problems Monday with the English II EOI test,” Schornick said. “The teachers and the students work hard and gear up for these tests. They’re ready to go and then they get shut down.”
Schornick said he didn’t believe there were any seniors at Oologah that were in danger of not graduating for failing to pass the required number of EOI exams. Schornick has implemented a “Gold Card” program that helps motivate high school students to pass the EOI tests.
“It speaks voulmes about our teachers and our students,” he said.
The state department of education sent an e-mail to school districts Monday morning stating the online test delivery client “is experiencing an outage that is affecting some sites.”
Middle school principal Kelli Dixon said her students experienced problems with online testing Monday. She said sixth grade test on Tuesday were rescheduled for Wednesday.
Dixon, assistant principal Brady DeSpain and other middle school staff members made a You Tube video using a parody of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” to encourage students to perform well on the high stakes tests. One staff member even wore the Marty the Mustang costume for the video.
“It’s serious business but at the same time we try not to make it a stressful environment for them,” Dixon said. “We want to help them to relax and encourage them. When people are stressed they don’t do their best.”
Third graders must pass a state reading test this year to advance to the next grade. Upper elementary principal Amy Oglesbee said her students completed the reading tests last week.
“Our goal is to not have any child held back because of the new law,” Oglesbee said. “If we have any issues were hopeful we can provide a good cause exception to promote them.”
For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week’s Oologah Lake Leader on newsstands Wednesday.