Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Computer Based Testing Uber Alles

What a day! We had a test run of the new Computer Based CRT (end of year) Testing today, and it was an incredibly successful failure. The State changed companies this year, switching to a completely online testing system. Our district person over testing foresaw problems with having the entire state attempting to access the same site at the same time, and talked the State into having a state-wide test of the system. So, today at 9:30 in the morning, every school in the state was supposed to do a test run of the system. Don't know if everyone was on or not, but either way the system crashed. I couldn't even get the kids through the first part of the first test. Since we had expected problems, I had prepped the students for it, and they were incredibly good during the whole thing. After I explained to them that even I was getting kicked out of the system and that they couldn't do anything anyway until I was back in, they just talked for the 20 minutes I was fighting my own login. As I said in the report below, if this had been during the real test, right now instead of writing this very post I'd be up in a padded room wearing a wrap-around jacket.
Here's my entry on the report of the system:
We had problems from the very beginning. I had a couple student's who were not allowed to put in the whole user name - it cut them off at 7 characters.
One recurring error we got was a box with "Network Error" in red. I got:
1@9:35, 5@9:55 and 2@10:05.
I had students kicked out: 2@9:55 and 2@10:00.
Between about 9:40 and 9:55, I didn't log any problems because the proctor (me) kept getting kicked off the system. I got stuck in a loop where the error "Failure (901) connecting to website" would come up, it would give me the option "click to return to login" and then lock up. I'd close the browser and start all over again, just to get the same error. I went through 4 cycles before it logged in correctly - then the student issues started again.
I gave up when, at 10:10 half the class was having trouble even getting the CRT login to work and the 14 students who had it working all at once got this error "Your proctor has stopped the test due to network errors."
The only other thing I can add is that I'm glad this was only a trial run - if it had been the real thing I would have had a stroke. Good thing someone thought of trying this before the real thing - she deserves the next week off.
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1 comment:

A Paperback Writer said...

I don't know if our school ran the test or not. I didn't hear about it, and none of the computer labs were blocked out. Maybe our guru just ran it with a few kids using the library computers.
I didn't hear any cursing coming from the library, but you never know.....
The latest problem I heard about with CRTs is that we have 5 labs and 6 English classes trying to test at the same time. My classes are the ones that will be split up and moved about. Joy.