Tech glitch kills statewide tests for a day, alters school schedules

Tech glitch kills statewide tests for a day, alters school schedules

The online system that the vast majority of Ohio schools use for annual state testing had a technical malfunction Wednesday, leaving students unable to even start their scheduled tests.

Ohio Department of Education spokeswoman Brittany Halpin said the American Institutes for Research (Ohio’s testing vendor) identified a problem with its login system for accessing tests. The system was down all day, but Halpin said the error has been resolved.

“AIR assured the Ohio Department of Education that it resolved the login system issue and tested it to confirm the fix,” Halpin said late Wednesday afternoon. “Schools should plan to resume testing Thursday.”

RELATED: Almost all state tests now taken online

Wednesday’s glitch came in the heart of the state testing period, when tests in all subjects are available. Each school district crafts its own testing calendar, so the number of students affected is different in every district.

According to testing calendars this newspaper collected this spring, Northmont had sixth through eighth-graders (and some high schoolers) scheduled to take state English tests Wednesday. Greenon had planned the eighth-grade science test and some fifth and sixth-grade math tests. Trotwood students were scheduled to take third and seventh-grade math tests, plus the high school American Government exam.

The results of these state tests make up the bulk of the annual state report card, and they also play a role in graduation requirements. For most third-graders, the state reading test determines whether they move on to fourth grade.

RELATED: Two state tests eliminated for Ohio students

Kettering Superintendent Scott Inskeep said his district decided fairly quickly to cancel the testing planned for Wednesday morning. Centerville and Dayton school officials said they waited at first to see if the glitch would be fixed before moving on. Each test session requires about a two-hour window to set up and take the exam, meaning schools construct testing day schedules differently from other days.

The state gives a five-week window for the English tests (through April 27), with schools required to give the tests in any 15-day stretch within that window. Halpin said ODE is still encouraging schools to finish English testing within the original window, but will extend it through May 1 for schools that are unable to do so. The window for tests in other subjects stretches through May 11.

LAST YEAR: Schools finally get a year without testing changes

More than 98 percent of state tests last spring were taken online. Multiple school districts said last month that after initial problems a couple of years ago, the state’s online platform had become much more reliable.

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