Glitches prompt suspension of Oklahoma tests again

State Supt. Janet Baressi

For the second consecutive year, standardized testing for Oklahoma students has been disrupted, prompting the state superintendent to suspend all online testing for the day."It's an understatement to say that I am frustrated with McGraw-Hill," said State Superintendent Janet Barresi."My first thought was not again. Not after we were promised that this would not happen again this year," said Edmond Santa Fe Principal Jason Hayes.It's deja-vu for districts across the state. For the second year in a row middle and high school students are unable to complete or even begin online testing."Some of the same students that were impacted last year when they took English II are the same students who are affected this year when they're taking Algebra II," said Hayes.Across the state 8,100 students were impacted by an hardware malfunction with the testing vendor. In Edmond, 506 students were impacted in Memorial High School, Santa Fe High School, Sequoyah Middle School and Central Middle School. At Santa Fe, 300 students weren't able to test at all and many others had problems with constant error messages forcing them to jump from computer to computer."Some of our students were kicked out, so to speak, 10 times," said Edmond Public Schools Spokesperson Susan Parks-Schlepp. "They had to take the test for an hour longer than they normally would and that's just unacceptable."It's even more unacceptable, said Superintendent Barresi, because of the time and effort districts put in to fixing last year's problems."We had quadrupled our training. We had conducted stress tests and we addressed a litany of issues," said Sup. Barresi.The State Department of Education says the vendor's problem has been fixed and schools may resume testing Tuesday or Wednesday. However, parents and educators say the stress it's caused for already stressed students can't be ignored."They either ought to find another testing company or somehow there ought to be quality control within the testing company itself," said an Edmond Santa Fe grandparent.Because of the problems with CTB/McGraw-Hill, Sup. Barresi will be recommending the State Board of Education not renew the contract with the company for the next fiscal year.