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Computer glitches lead to delay in ELA computer-based testing for Wednesday

Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 02, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Education Department is now delaying ELA Computer-Based Testing (CBT) testing for Wednesday.

Some computer glitches were reported with the New York State ELA’s students in grades third through eighth grade are taking this week. The troubles are reported to be with Questar Assessment Inc.'s Computer Based Testing Program, the vendor providing services for New York State Education Department (NYSED).

NYSED issued the following statement on behalf of spokeswoman Emily DeSanti:

"In light of reports of Computer Based Testing (CBT) technical difficulties from the field, NYSED has designated tomorrow as a CBT non-testing day. Therefore, there will be no CBT testing tomorrow.

NYSED expects seamless administration of its CBT program and we will use this time to work with Questar to ensure the system will operate smoothly when CBT resumes. In addition, NYSED will work with schools to provide guidance on how to resolve outstanding issues with today’s CBT administration.

We thank our districts and schools for their incredible support and patience as we work through these issues.

Questar reports more than 84,000 testing sessions were submitted today. Questar has dispatched additional staff around the state to provide technical assistance to schools.

To provide additional flexibility to schools, NYSED has extended the testing window for CBT ELA."

But if your school or district or school conducts paper-based ELA's, those test will still be taken. Students in the Buffalo Public School District will be taking the ELA's Wednesday because the district still uses paper-based testing.

The New York State United Teachers first reported wide-spread issues Tuesday, demanding a shut down of the testing.

Western New York ‘Opt Out’ leader Chris Cerrone, co-founder of New York Allies for Public Education, tells WKBW he has had reports of some area schools reporting computer issues with the ELA’s. Cerrone said first reported Frontier Middle School had delays with computer log-in that caused students to “start assessments, go to lunch and then finish afterwards.” He also reported there were problems at Iroquois Elementary and Wales.

Cerrone told us when the computer glitches occur as they did in 2018, it extends test taking time for students.

"And then you add in, if you are doing the computer based testing - the logging in with younger kids that need help, so literally it can be another 30 to 40 minutes added on, so you have eight year olds sitting for two and a half hours for testing - that's minimal and if the students are using their extended, unlimited time, they litterally could be going for four to six hours for the testing," explained Cerrone.

The New York State Parent Teacher Association {NYS PTA) issued a statement saying it is “highly disappointed” with today’s announcement. It stated “Questar Assessment has failed again, after having serious issues in 2018 as well.” The organization is calling for a review of Questar’s contract.

The following statement was issued by NYSUT:

“Students across the state are barely 24 hours into this year’s computer-based testing period for grades 3-8, and we already are receiving reports of widespread computer failures similar to the issues that created havoc in 2018. Despite claims to the contrary, clearly the state has not taken the actions needed to ensure that technological issues will not unduly burden students taking these already flawed state exams on computers. he state must immediately halt computer-based testing to ensure that our children will not be penalized because of the mistakes adults have made in rolling out this faulty system."

Questar Assessment Inc. Chief Operating Officer, Brad Baumgartner issued the following statement Tuesday.

“Questar Assessment Inc. has additional staff in place around New York, in response to testing delays experienced at some schools Tuesday. Questar is proactively working with the NYSED and individual school districts to keep them informed. Despite some delays, approximately 84,000 test sessions were successfully submitted Tuesday.”