FairTest Reacts to Ongoing Computer-Administered Testing Problems: Exams Crashed in 9 States in April

for further information:                                                                 

Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
                   cell (239) 699-0468

 

for immediate release, Monday, April 27, 2015

COMPUTER-ADMINISTERED SCHOOL EXAMS CRASHED
IN NINE STATES IN APRIL, 2015;
WIDESPREAD TECHNICAL, SECURITY PROBLEMS DEMONSTRATE
FAILURE OF POLITICALLY MANDATED TESTING

 

New, computer-delivered, school testing programs have been plagued by malfunctions across the nation. So far in April, exam delivery collapsed in at least eight states -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Several different companies are responsible for these faulty systems. The list includes American Institutes of Research (AIR), CTB/McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service (ETS), Measured Progress, and Pearson Education.

According to Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, (FairTest), which monitors standardized exams across the U.S., policy-makers should learn two lessons from these widespread technical problems.

“First,” Schaeffer explained, “State education officials must suspend the high-stakes testing mandate, as Montana’s education commissioner already did. Results from exams that have repeatedly been interrupted are not reliable, valid or even ‘standardized.’ The fact is students ended up taking them under widely different conditions.”

Schaeffer continued, “Second, state and national politicians must step on the brakes to stop testing overkill. Many schools lack sufficient up-to-date computers and other modern equipment for mass test administration. Large numbers of districts do not have the internet bandwidth to handle the volume. Testing company servers do not have the capacity to meet the surge from thousands of students logging on simultaneously.”

Proponents of computerized testing have tried to blame “hacker attacks” in some instances. But Schaeffer said state investigations have concluded that most problems have stemmed from issues within the testing industry’s control.

Schaeffer concluded, “These fiascos were largely caused by politically-driven assessment policies. Policy-makers ignored multiple warnings from educators, technical experts and parents.”

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A regularly updated chronology of computer testing problems over the past three years is online at http://fairtest.org/computerized-testing-problems-2013-2015