A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Online end-of-course tests mandated by state for credit may resume next week if no glitch

Online administration of state-mandated end-of-course tests is scheduled to resume Monday following technical glitches this week with the test vendor, ACT, Inc.
The Kentucky Department of Education Office of Assessment and Accountability directed districts to suspend testing yesterday after problems were reported throughout the week of slow online connections or dropped connections experienced by students taking the computer-based tests in about 25 districts. The issue also impacted students taking online EOC tests in Alabama and Ohio. The technical glitches were random and did not affect all schools or students taking the online tests.
According to ACT, the problem was a capacity issue with its Vantage testing system which is used to administer QualityCore end-of-course exams. The company indicated that its system became overloaded which then had an impact on the authentication/test upload process. ACT reports that capacity of the system has been increased and no further problems are expected.
About 60 percent of districts in Kentucky administer the EOC tests online. The rest administer a paper-and-pencil version. EOC tests are mandatory for students taking English II, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History. The tests are used at the high school level for accountability and KDE recommends the results count at least 20 percent of a student’s final grade in the course.
KDE will be working with the districts affected to complete testing and address any accountability issues that may result from this situation.
ACT has assured the Kentucky Department of Education that its system is now able to handle online end-of-course testing next week, which is the peak for state testing in Kentucky. However, the Office of Assessment and Accountability will be providing districts with revised administration directions to help maximize the testing system’s capacity and avert any more potential issues. All schools administering online EOC tests will receive paper tests by next Thursday as an alternative.
ACT, Inc. was awarded the end-of-course testing contract in 2011. Last year 35 percent of Kentucky schools administered the ACT QualityCore end-of-course exams online and reported no problems.
From KDE

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