Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Uh oh, Pearson Shuts Down Entire Colorado Testing System

Update: now it's SBAC.  Nevada, Montana and North Dakota have shut down testing because of a "computer glitch."

From Diane Ravitch's blog:

Yes, you read that right. The vendor of the Smarter Balanced Assessment was not prepared for the number of tests that the server had to deliver, and the system broke down in three states.
According to the Nevada Department of Education, a spike in students taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) this morning in Nevada, Montana and North Dakota exceeded the data capacity of Measured Progress, a third-party vendor contracted by the states to provide the test.

All testing in the three states has been stopped until Measured Progress can increase its data capacity, according to an email sent to state superintendents today by state deputy superintendent Steve Canavero.
Think about it. The vendor didn’t know that so many students would be taking tests at the same time. What were they thinking?

Seriously? Is any state really going to count either PARCC or SBAC results?  Because this is ridiculous. 

End of update.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette:

"Technical difficulties" caused computerized testing in Colorado to "not operate optimally" Tuesday morning, according to the Colorado Department of Education. The window for new, required science and social studies testing developed by the state opened Monday for Colorado's 179 public school districts.
A District 11 teacher said about mid-morning, half-way into the testing, "the whole thing just shut down."
"It was like crash and burn," he said.

Statewide, 34,396 students were testing on Tuesday, Anthony said. That's down from the 46,800 that tested on Monday, the first day of the window.
The glitch occurred at a time when state lawmakers are debating several bills to reduce standardized testing and change the requirements.

This is thought to be the first time that such a statewide shut-down occurred with the new testing system. The D-11 teacher said last year, during the trial run, one-third of students testing at his school could not answer questions related to animation they were supposed to watch because the program did not work properly.


Anonymous said...

While we didn't have anything on that scale here, my 4th grader had to retake one of the English section of the SBAC (fortunately not the part with the essay). She was one of about 6 kids in her grade that had to retake it because the computer apparently did not capture the answers.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Anonymous is taking it down, sparing hundreds of thousands of kids?

- Not Anonymous

Anonymous said...

But @mom of 4,

Why would YOU allow your child, your 9 or 10 year old little girl, to be forced to sit through ANOTHER 2 hours of testing? What was in it for her? When will you say no more, what will it take? They make a mistake, and she pays for their mistake with her time?

I wi
Opted out

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Minnesota had issues too.


mirmac1 said...

This may do more towards stopping the insanity then the Opt Out movement. When people see that 40K kids are sitting at computers like the proverbial 1M monkeys...

Of course opting out makes the statement on an individual level that a child should not log in and feed the data beast.

Anonymous said...

I wi Opted out,

I did not know about it until after the fact, when she came home from school & told me. She didn't seem to mind - she seemed to think it was kind of amusing to be pulled out of class. Of course, she's the kind of kid who gets in trouble at times because she thinks everything is kind of amusing...
Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

More states report SBAC computer problems.



Anonymous said...


Second day in a row...lots of lost instruction time. Can we go back to paper and pencil ITBS tests?


Anonymous said...

More news from Diane Ravitch blog. Teachers have posted some comments on SBAC ELA in the comment section of this blog entry.


It was interesting to read that the high school teachers could not figure out the correct answer to SBAC ELA practice test.

Also a WA state teacher reported the following on the actual ELA SBAC test

"The 3rd grade SBAC ELA included many poorly worded questions, ambiguous answer choices, and design issues that forced kids into choosing a different answer than the one they intended. Many of the questions are hidden within 8 sentence block of texts. Kids are having to read these blocks of text multiple times to understand what they are even supposed to do – and honestly, many of them don’t understand what the question is asking because the questions are not worded in vocabulary 3rd graders are familiar with. There is no special formatting of text such as block text or italics to differentiate a question, a quote, etc. It’s terrible."

It's interesting that these sorts of flaws are apparently not enough to stop the SBAC from being administed. I hope all teachers will be able to somehow give feedback on what they think of the test.