System Glitch Stops Testing For Thousands Of OK Students

Monday, April 21st 2014, 6:32 pm
By: News 9

Eleven thousand students were able to complete their tests, but the 8,000 sixth grade through high school students who were disrupted are the core of the frustration across the state.

For the second year, testing has come to a sudden stop.

4/21/2014 Related Story: Glitch Forces OK Superintendent To Suspend Online Testing

"I imagine how angry and frustrated these students must be, and I'm angry for them," State Superintendent Janet Barresi said.

An expression of frustration with testing company McGraw-Hill.

"It is an understatement to say I am outraged," Barresi said.

Seemed to be State Superintendent Janet Barresi's message Monday after she ordered all testing to stop statewide for the second year in a row.

4/30/2013 Related Story: OK Schools Forced To Change Testing Schedules Due To Server Crash

This year student tests had slow load times or just stopped. An issue Barresi said is within McGraw-Hill's CTB system.

"This is not the same issue," said Barresi. "The company has confirmed to me this is company-wide."

So after last year's issues, Barresi had demanded the company put Oklahoma on its own server and conduct a stress test with 36,000 users at once. She also required the overall training be quote, "quadrupled."

"We cannot safe guard against everything, and this appears a 100 percent failing of CTB and they have admitted that," Barresi said.

"It's an injustice when the students prepare for high stakes tests, and the part the adults do is not ready," Oklahoma Educators Association President Linda Hampton said.

When testing was disrupted last year, OEA called for those scores to be invalid.

6/25/2013 Related Story: OEA Calls For Standardized Testing Results To Be Invalidated

"Testing should be used for instruction and learning, not label and punish," Hampton said.

Now Barresi is concerned with holding McGraw-Hill accountable, because the renewal of the contract was only because the state lacked time to explore more options.

"There was no desire to stay with this company," said Barresi. "There was simply no time to go with another assessment."

The contract with McGraw-Hill is for five years with an annual renewal and there are penalties for interruptions, $15,000 each day testing is stopped and up to three percent of the contract.

CTB's contract with the state is for just over $7 million for grades three through eight and over just $6 million for end of instruction.

CTB technicians are currently on site to determine the exact problem. The state is also considering switching to paper and pencil to finish this year's testing.

Since the Department of Education hasn't sent out its official email yet, here's what they told News 9 over the phone:

"McGraw-Hill found the problem within the hardware."

"McGraw-Hill assures the state that the problem is fixed and there should no longer be any issues."

"The state is leaving the decision up to the districts whether or not they want to continue testing tomorrow."