Oklahoma Public School Students Giving Computers A 'Stress Test'

Monday, January 27th 2014, 6:19 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Oklahoma's public school students are getting ready for a big test on Tuesday, but it has nothing to do with their education. It's designed to prevent another testing disaster, like the one that happened last year.

Last year, thousands of students were kicked offline in the middle of online testing. So this year, all the computers are being checked at the same time to see if everything works; it's a stress test.

Getting ready for it is a huge job taking up a lot of time for teachers and students.

K. Holland's students are learning as much about technology as they are about geography, which is the subject of the class.

Monday's class period was divided between geography and setting up computers. Every computer at the school, there are 342, has to be updated with new software, installed and tested.

The installation process takes away almost a day and a half of preparation, according to Holland, "If you think about the test window in April, we lose two days that could have been spent preparing for the test."

The test they're preparing for now is a technology test, so the state and testing companies can find out if everything works. Tuesday, every student will be needed to take a make believe test, just to test out the equipment.

It will take two hours.

Chris Johnson, Tulsa Public Schools Chief Accountability Officer, said, "Right now we're just checking to make sure we're in compliance with the mandates from the state department."

In Tulsa, the district didn't want to lose the classroom time, but doesn't have a choice in whether or not they do it.

Holland doesn't like the lost time either, for her students, and all the teachers doing the computer work that's not related to what they're teaching.

"We don't have a team of people or a technical guru, it's a teacher that's doing this in every classroom in the state, setting these computers up, getting them ready for it," Holland said.

The state wide testing is Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., with the two hours divided between the two testing companies.

The districts should have a good idea if it works or doesn't, right away.