INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —
Some Indiana school administrators say they're worried about a rerun of last
year's computer troubles with online standardized tests as students have
faced disruptions this week while taking practice tests.
Students in the
Zionsville Community Schools near Indianapolis experienced computers
freezing up Monday and Tuesday, which put educators on edge ahead of the
annual ISTEP testing period that starts Monday, said Patti Bostwick, the
district's chief technology officer.
"I am hoping that
we don't have another repeat of last year. Before last year, we rarely had
an issue. I am hoping for the best but planning for the worst. I really,
really hope this goes better starting Monday," she told The Indianapolis
A report found
about 80,000 Indiana students in third through eighth grade had ISTEP exams
interrupted last spring when server glitches from contractor CTB/McGraw Hill
kicked them offline. That was during the first year students moved from
pencil and paper exams to online tests under the Indiana Department of
Education's four-year, $95 million contract with CTB/McGraw Hill.
This week's Indiana
problems are similar to those that led Oklahoma on Monday to suspend its
online standardized test, also administered by CTB/McGraw-Hill. The testing
has since resumed.
Department of Education said fewer than 10 percent of more than 300 ISTEP
calls through Wednesday this week have been related to computer
Daniel Altman said it had staffers checking on the Oklahoma problems and
working with CTB/McGraw-Hill to ensure the ISTEP exams can start next week
team is working with local schools to ensure that their networks are ready
for testing and CTB has engineers available for on-site support," he said.
spokesman Brian Belardi on Thursday blamed this week's Indiana troubles on
additional system security measures it had implemented.
The company's staff
will be working with the state Education Department and schools across the
state through the weekend to resolve any issues, he said. The company is
confident heading into next week with improvements made since last year's
glitches, Belardi told The Associated Press.
"We've taken a lot
of steps, working with the state, working with the districts across the
state, to improve the online testing experience," he said. "We've increased
the capacity of our infrastructure; we've added more servers and memory.
We've done stress testing with double the expected amount of students taking
the test at any one time."
on Wednesday visited the Wayne Township Schools district on the west side of
Indianapolis to check into technical problems its students encountered
Monday and Tuesday, district spokeswoman Mary Lang said.
"We are really
grateful for what CTB and IDOE have done to respond to it," Lang said. "I
know they are working on it, and we are really hoping they can fix it."