Online standardized testing fails in OR

Vendor can't explain why test site crashes but state ready to move to paper and pencil testing.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

The Oregon state standardized test administered online this year has been temporarily halted due to problems with the Web-based system, reports the Oregonian.

"I'm deeply concerned that changing courses in midstream will result in lower test scores because teachers aren't trained in paper-and-pencil testing and students are used to the online tests. That means students won't be able to adequately demonstrate what they know," said Ed Dennis, deputy state school superintendent.

Dennis said in a memo to school officials that the state will bring back paper-and-pencil tests if the online testing system isn't fixed by next week. Teachers said that when they used the testing Web site, it would freeze, not allowing students to finish the test. If students logged off and tried to log on again, they were rejected.

Dennis said the company that runs Oregon's online testing system, Vantage Learning of Newtown, Pa., hasn't been able to tell department officials what the problem is.

The The state Department of Education said it will give Vantage until 5 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether to administer to test with paper and pencil.

To skip the test altogether isn't an option, Dennis said, because that would mean loosing millions of dollars in federal school aid due to the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"Either our vendor will be able to test the system and assure us that they can proceed, or we will turn to another option to finish this school year," Dennis said.
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