FairTest Press Release: Widespread Computer Testing Not Ready for Primetime

for further information:

                                                                                                Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773

                                                                                                                 cell  (239) 699-0468

 

for immediate release, Monday, May 6, 2013

WIDESPREAD COMPUTERIZED TESTING STILL “NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME”;

ACT ANNOUNCES AUTOMATED COLLEGE ADMISSIONS EXAM ON SAME DAY

KENTUCKY SCRAPS THE FIRM’S K-12 TESTS FOR SYSTEM FAILURE;

FIVE OTHER STATES HAD MAJOR COMPUTER EXAM PROBLEMS IN LAST MONTH

 

   If “timing is everything in life,” testing company ACT could not have picked a worse day to announce that the firm’s college admissions exam will soon be offered on computer. Almost simultaneously with the revelation of ACT’s plans, Kentucky announced that it was scrapping that firm’s online K-12 tests because of a statewide system failure.

    Last week, technical problems also disrupted ACT testing for some schools in Ohio and Alabama. Over the past month, major flaws blocked computerized exam in Indiana, Minnesota, and Oklahoma, all of which contract with companies other than ACT. Several years ago, Wyoming won a $5.1 million settlement after suing a computer testing contractor whose system failed. Nevertheless, many states plan to implement Common Core assessments via computer beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

     “Recent experience demonstrates that large-scale computerized testing is simply not ready for prime time,” concluded Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. “For more than two decades, proponents of computerizing standardized exams have promised that ‘forthcoming’ products would improve assessment. In all but a few cases, the result has either been ‘vaporware’ that never moves off the drawing board or experimental systems that collapse in real-world applications. Computerized testing may have potential down the road. However, as we have repeatedly seen, the technology needs a lot more work before mass administration.”   

 

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- see FairTest’s fact sheet “Common Core Assessments: More Tests But Not Much Better” at http://fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-more-tests-not-much-better