Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clueless In Austin .....the insanity continues.

As mentioned previously, Texas is preparing to offer end of course tests in the core subjects. To this point, several tests are currently being field tested. Once again - Austin finds a way to screw up even more.

Currently the Vogue in Austin is online testing....despite the fact that previous attempts have been muddled with poor planning and preparation by Austin/and or testing companies. Little things like scheduling 1000 students to take a test at same time from an internet connection that was not powerful enough to handle 1/2 that.

Schools get "told" they must administer field tests and are expected to just make it happen. This is much easier with printed tests. You then need a room - someone to watch the students and time.

Now lets take a large school - say 4500 students. The school gets selected to administer an online field test for their entire sophomore class. Estimate there are about 1300 sophomores.
How many schools have 1300 computers in unused labs ready to give these tests? Ok - Half that number - have to do the test in two sessions. A fourth?

Now lets give that school - say 2 more online tests to field test. Another one for the sophomores and one for the 1210 Juniors. Total of 3810 online tests to give.

Now lets take all the computer class students out of their class labs and if this is an average school - you may have freed up as many as 500 computers.

Now if you are lucky - you handle this in 4 days - 2 testing sessions a day - but you have booted every Web, Computer Science, BCIS, Writing Lab, Animation, Digital Graphics, Video, and Multimedia student out of their class labs for at least 4 days.

So you have taken nearly a week away from the technology students...which affects maybe as many 400-600 students. This in a six weeks where a week is already sacrificed with TAKS tests. This in the weeks leading up to the semester exam when the students need to be in class.

This writer is familiar with a situation where an entire high school's computer labs are being taken over for 15 days. Half the six weeks - where classes whose primary work area is the computer - must sit and do something else.

I am not saying you can't test online - but before you dump 3 or 4 tests on a school and require them to take all of the tests online - consider the resources available.

Consider spacing the tests out between more districts - why put 3 or 4 on any one school.

Then again - I am trying to use logic... and sadly - logic is the first thing sacrificed in Austin.

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