Testing Back On Track At Tulsa Schools After Computer Problems

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 1:21 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tuesday was another day of state testing in public schools, but it was a very different story than Monday. The system meltdown that happened appears to have been resolved.

Things worked Tuesday. The state said 61,000 students took online tests Tuesday and there were no significant problems. A little icon on the screen caused a lot of heartburn in Oklahoma classrooms Monday, but Tuesday it worked.

The CTB online testing that was off and on, before it was off entirely, worked without any major problems Tuesday.

4/21/2014 Related Story: Broken Arrow Officials Blame Superintendent, Vendor For Testing Failure

Testing coordinator, Erin Lester, said, "Today has actually been a lot better, we're back on track with testing."

When the testing problems cropped up at Tulsa Public Schools, 1,800 students were logged into the system. The district isn't sure yet how many students were able to complete the tests, or if they might have to start over.

And they don't know yet how many more students were trying to log in but couldn't get into the system. Regardless, the failure was widespread, affecting all but two schools in the district.

"We had 6th graders at elementary schools who were unable to take the math test. We had 7th graders taking the reading test at junior high schools and middles and high school EOI's in all subjects were affected," Lester said.

The state superintendent said Monday, Oklahoma will hold testing contractor CTB accountable for the disruption, with a financial penalty now, and she'll recommend against them getting contracts in the future.

The contract with CTB for grades three through eight is worth just over $7 million; for the 9-12th grade tests, it's just over $6 million.

The penalty for a disruption is three percent of the contact, in this case, just over $400,000.

While the districts juggle the already complex testing calendar, administrators worry about the effect on children and their test scores.

"It's an emotional thing, you're invested in the test, it's your day and you get to the computer lab and it doesn't happen," said Lester.

The only major problems reported were in smaller school districts. One had a power outage and another had an Internet outage that delayed testing for another day.

Districts have through May 7th to finish most of the online testing.