Smarter Balanced Roll Out Has Been a Disaster

Smarter Balanced has been plagued with technical glitches that have led to Montana telling its schools that the assessment was voluntary for it’s local schools.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

A series of technological difficulties prompted Montana officials on Wednesday to declare that statewide Common Core-aligned tests will be voluntary this year—the latest blow to the rollout of such tests across the country.

“We were listening to the field [of school leaders], and the field is very frustrated with the glitches happening,” said Denise Juneau,superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

While she said she isn’t against testing in general, she added that she found this year’s snafus to be disruptive to learning. “We really want to make sure the business of schools gets done,” she said.

With about 145,000 students in its elementary and secondary systems, Montana had planned this spring to test about 77,000 students in grades three through eight, as well as in 11th grade, with exams from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Montana uses Measured Progress as the testing vendor.  North Dakota and Nevada also use this company and they have experienced problems as well.

Fox News reported yesterday a week out they are still experiencing problems:

Nevada resumed full testing after its first notable success with Friday’s limited testing, but system-generated error messages appeared Monday.

Clark County School District said it suspended testing after the system crashed at 9:30 a.m.

All three states have announced plans for school districts that say they can’t finish the test.

The U.S. Department of Education maintains there are no exceptions to the mandate to test 95 percent of all students, which is linked to funding.

The Nevada Department of Public Instruction said that no schools will be punished if they don’t finish the test.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga says schools experiencing errors can make two more attempts to take the test again before the end of the school year.

The schools can also request a paper version. No schools will be punished if the test isn’t completed.

If you think the problems are just linked to Measured Progress, think again, three other states have experienced problems as well.  Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri all have experienced technical glitches according to Smarter Balanced officials, the Wall Street Journal reports.

To say this has been disruptive to classroom instruction is putting it mildly.

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised, a roll out with computer adaptive tests this big is pretty unprecedented.  Hopefully states like Iowa who are still considering what assessment they will use will see this disaster.  I’m not going to hold my breath though as anything resembling common sense appears to be lacking when educrats are concerned.