Friday, April 17, 2015

Testing Woes: Will the Feds Have Any Sympathy?

The Department of Education has a message for Nevada, Montana and North Dakota over Common Core assessments - get it done.  Even though, all three of those states experienced - thru no apparent fault of their own - massive vendor problems that led to a shutdown of testing last month and this week.

From the AP:

Federal funding could be at stake as Common Core testing problems continued in Nevada, Montana and North Dakota, state and U.S. officials said.

The state of Montana offered waivers Wednesday to the mandatory assessment for this year, which could put millions of dollars in federal funding at risk.

What does ED say?

"We expect states to hold Measured Progress accountable, just like we expect the states to hold the districts accountable" for testing, said Dorie Nolt, a Department of Education spokeswoman.

The U.S. Department of Education said in a statement: "The department has not had to withhold money — yet — over this requirement because states have either complied or have appropriately addressed this with schools or districts that assessed less than 95 percent of students."

A likely exhausted response from North Dakota:

North Dakota said it is prepared for any consequences, given that some districts are ending the school year in as few as 20 days.

Officials encouraged finishing the computer test or ordering the paper test. Any school system that can't get it done will document attempts in what could be a plea for leniency later.

"I think the Department of (Education) will look at the effort we give in," said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's state superintendent. "Did they give up the second week of April or was it a substantial effort?"

What happened?

This week's debacle was the second technical problem Measured Progress has had in recent weeks with the computerized English language arts and math tests for selected grades. In March, testing was delayed because of a coding issue.

The company said its servers couldn't handle the number of students even though it increased capacity beyond what was indicated by the tests' creator, Smarter Balanced.

Are districts and states going to get some kind of rebate/money back for all this time and effort?  

North Dakota said it's not clear how it will deal with the company. Its three-year contract started this year and cost $4.68 million.

"When the dust settles and our students are taken care of and the school year concludes, then we'll begin to look at what happened here," Baesler said.

Funniest response?

Meanwhile, Montana's limited testing Thursday was successful and full testing begins again Friday. The state also defended Measure Progress, calling it a victim to the initial coding problems.

A victim?  Bad HAL.

1 comment:

Gads said...

It is being reported that a Seattle School had the wrong SBAC test uploaded and students are being asked to take this test TWICE. How much instructional time do these students loose?