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LA Unified’s computer test run encounters — surprise! — glitches

Vanessa Romo | February 23, 2015

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computer-errorIf you thought LA Unified’s practice-run of the Smarter Balanced test last week would go smoothly, think again. But district officials insist the blame is not entirely the district’s fault.

The state “Readiness Test” site, which was specifically designed for students to access the practice exam, crashed Thursday when state personnel tried logging into the system.

“It just couldn’t handle the volume,” Ellen Morgan, a district spokeswoman, told LA School Report.

That’s troubling, considering only a fraction of LA Unified students attempted to take the practice test last week. The so-called “dress rehearsal” only required one class per school to take the test. About 340,000 students are expected to take the exam in the spring.

But the state’s web site failure is no cause for alarm, says Cynthia Lim, head of LA Unified’s Office of Data and Accountability.

“Students will be taking the real test on a secured browser,” she told LA School Report.

Lim said the district is not concerned about the testing web site because “students will be accessing the test via the secure browser and there were few glitches during the field test last year.”

In a similar trial run last year, several schools reported problems connecting to the internet and accessing the test questions. Few students were able to complete either the English or math section of the test.

Schools were asked to complete a survey after the test last week but district officials say the results have not been tabulated.

“We will have statistics later in the week on the number of schools that were able to access the practice test,” Lim said. Overall, she added, the goal of the  practice test was to test to our capacity and to allow our students to obtain more familiarity with the SBA. This dress rehearsal as a good trial for the district.”


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