The Woodward News

Local News

May 2, 2013

Test disruptions lead to frustration, questions

Woodward, Okla. — Computer problems with recent online testing have led to a lot of frustrations at schools across Oklahoma, including in Woodward.

Officials with the Woodward Public School District said that on Monday and Tuesday around 170 to 180 students each day were affected by disruptions in access to state mandated online tests.

"What the students experienced in the testing application that they use is a little pop up screen that simply says 'please wait,'" District Technology Coordinator Bryan Stephenson said. "Sometimes those stay up for just a few minutes, sometimes it's 15 or 20 minutes and sometimes its 45 minutes or more."

District Testing Coordinator Susan Viles said she was told that the longest disruption occurred when "at one point all the computers in the middle school labs were completely shut down for an hour and a half."

In addition to the long delays, some students were experiencing multiple disruptions.

"A testing session that on average may last about an hour and a half has extended itself to 3- and 4-hour, very exhausting events in which it (the testing application) may come up for a bit and then it's down, then it's up and then it's down again," Stephenson said.

Viles said she knows of at least one student who "spent 6 hours in that testing environment" because of all the disruptions.

"It was a long day," she said.

And the problems couldn't have come at a worse time for some students.

Viles said that on Monday there were 77 high school students taking their End Of Instruction (EOI) exam in Algebra 1.  This is an important test, she said, because it is one of 2 EOI tests that every high school student is required to pass in order to graduate.

At the middle school, she said 103 8th graders were taking their reading test on Monday, which she said was a "very important" test because students "are required to pass this test in order to get their driver's license."

On Tuesday the disruptions came as around 66 high schoolers were taking their Biology 1 EOI exam and approximately 100 8th graders were taking a math exam, Viles said.

In addition to just making for long test days for the students, the disruptions have created other "side effects."

"The bad side effect on this is that it really does mess up the continuity of the student and it plays through the psychological aspect of a student working through the test and raises frustration levels," Stephenson said.  "That obviously does not put students in the most conducive testing environment."

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