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Online Testing Runs Off-Track in Several States

It was a rocky week for large-scale online testing. It was so bad, in fact, that one state official said that stone tablets were looking like a better alternative.

In case you were napping last week, we can bring you back into the loop. As my colleagues Michelle Davis, Andrew Ujifusa, and Sean Cavanagh reported, technological snafus tangled testing in a big way in four states. See Michelle's story, and blog posts by Andrew and Sean for details.

None of this is cheery news for the two federally funded assessment consortia, whose tests live or die on states' ability to administer online tests to all students in 2015. Spokesmen for those two groups offered publicly confident faces in response to last week's testing disasters—the advantages of the new tests will outweigh the challenges; we'll work out all the kinks before they roll out in 2015. But you don't need to stretch too far to imagine that news of those disasters was not at all what the consortia needed to hear, as they seek to build confidence in the testing systems that more than 40 states are banking on.

UPDATE:
Andrew reports another layer of testing trouble in Kentucky: the state has discontinued scoring the constructed-response items, passing that mantle to districts to take up if they wish to do so. This resonates on a common-assessments level, too, since the two consortia's longer, performance-based items purport to add nuance and depth to understanding a student's performance.

We'll keep you posted as this picture evolves.

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