Archive for Monday, April 7, 2014

Kansas testing pushes on despite setbacks

April 7, 2014

— Education officials say Kansas student testing has been pushing forward despite several hurdles, including computer problems and cyberattacks.

When the tests in mathematics, science and reading started March 10, system glitches prevented many schools from completing the federally mandated tests. Once the computer problems were fixed, the test system was hit by cyberattacks that blocked legitimate traffic.

By Thursday, the tests were moving ahead after the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, which operates the testing platform, succeeded in staving off the cyberattacks. Officials said the schools completed 77,500 tests on Thursday and Friday, which is more than the first three weeks of the testing season combined.

“We had a phenomenal amount of testing Thursday and Friday,” said Marianne Perie, director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation. Perie also thanked schools for their persistence.

“I’m in awe of administrators, teachers, and students in Kansas. Their patience, resilience, and grit is truly humbling,” she told The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1qdmlWW ).

Kansas has been trying more technologically advanced tests this spring that focus less on multiple choice formats and more on asking students to fill in responses or manipulate data on screen. This year’s results won’t count toward accountability, but the Kansas State Department of Education said they are crucial to resolving any issues with the testing system ahead of next year, when results will count.

Perie said 25 percent of tests are complete and many more are partially complete. The education department has extended the deadline for completing the tests from May 2 to May 16.

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