Kansas schools resume state testing after glitches

Generic school desk

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita schools and those in surrounding districts have resumed state testing after many of the kinks in the new assessments appear to have been worked out.

School districts across Kansas reported technical glitches with the new tests, which began March 10, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1i8k9Jo ) reported. While this year’s testing period will continue almost to the end of the school year, it now seems unlikely that all students required to take the tests will take or complete them.

Schools are required to test students annually in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. They also are tested in science in the fourth, seventh and 11th grades.

But if some don’t take the tests this year, it won’t be a problem because the exams are being viewed as a trial run for a new type of assessment that reflects Common Core state standards. The Kansas Board of Education last month decided all public schools in the state will remain accredited next year, regardless of how they perform on the tests.

Districts will get feedback and data from test developers, which might not report school-specific data because the tests — with all their starts and stops — might not truly reflect how much students have learned.

Wichita students will take the new assessments through May 16, district spokeswoman Susan Arensman said, but “if a school’s testing window has passed, they are not being asked to go back and reschedule.”

Last week Maize school officials alerted parents that the district will resume testing Monday after suspending the tests because of widespread software and bandwidth issues.

“We . do not expect to be able to complete all tests in the time that is remaining, even though the state extended its testing window through May 16,” Karen Duling, director of elementary education and assessments for Maize schools, wrote in an email to parents.

Teresa San Martin, assistant superintendent for academic affairs in Goddard, said testing is going more smoothly in that district as well. But “missing (test) items continue to be the norm, and the audio portions do not work for the most part,” she said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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