News

The good, the bad, and the ugly of today’s online testing

By Bridget McCrea
March 18th, 2015

How three different districts fared as they conducted PARCC testing for the first time

testing-parccWhen teachers, students, and administrators at Sheridan School District No. 2 met earlier this month to kick off The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing, they had felt pretty sure of themselves. After all, the Denver-based district of 1,600 students and five schools had worked hard to prep itself for the computer-based K–12 assessments in English language arts and math. “We spent a lot of time and money on preparation,” says Superintendent Michael Clough.

But it all fell apart pretty quickly.

Within just a few hours of the first test being administered, it became clear that the district wasn’t as ready as it thought it was. “The first day of testing can be described as nothing short of a disaster,” says Clough. “Now that the first round of testing is complete, we’ll have to start unpacking things and figure out exactly what went wrong.”

Clough says the district ran into some repeated complications with firewalls, pop-up windows, and pop-up blockers—all of which may have contributed to students’ inability to even log into the testing system (let alone actually use it within the designated time frame). “Once students were able to log in, the problems waned—but getting into the system was a challenge in and of itself,” Clough recalls.

Next page: How Pearson responded