Several states have already started field testing the new Common Core computer-based assessments. And some of those tests didn’t go quite as smoothly as people had hoped.
According to Education Week, there were problems with testing in Indiana, Minnesota, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
Thousands of students experienced slow loading times of test questions, students were closed out of testing in mid-answer, and some were unable to log in to the tests. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tests may be invalidated.
The difficulties prompted all three states’ education departments to extend testing windows, made some state lawmakers and policymakers reconsider the idea of online testing, and sent district officials into a tailspin.
One official from Oklahoma City Schools called the experience “absolutely horrible” and said kids were extra anxious because of the test glitches.
Oklahoma, Indiana and Kentucky are all members of the PARCC consortium, a group of 22 states developing computer-based tests for English and math for grades K-12.
Ohio is also a member, and is set to participate in a pilot study in math and English language arts assessments next spring for grades 4-8.
John Charlton with the Ohio Department of Education says the department did an “optional pilot program” last year with 8th grade social studies students using Common Core material. Charlton says there were no reports of problems with those tests. There will be another pilot study for 4th grade social studies students this year.
“I suspect that their will always be some concerns and issues but from what I’ve seen PARCC and the Department (of Education) are doing the best they can to minimize the number of glitches they see,” Charlton says. “Obviously by doing the pilot next year it gives us some time to make sure everything is lined up and ready to go.”