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Robinson students have some success with new state science test

Computer glitches, error messages and service disruptions at the state level prompted Wichita school officials to postpone Wednesday most state assessments until after spring break. (Feb. 16, 2010)
Computer glitches, error messages and service disruptions at the state level prompted Wichita school officials to postpone Wednesday most state assessments until after spring break. (Feb. 16, 2010) File photo

A third try with a new state testing system was a success at one Wichita middle school Thursday, where 58 seventh-graders were able to complete a state science test, district officials said.

About 28 seventh-graders at Robinson were able to complete the state science assessment Thursday morning and another 30 completed it in the afternoon, said Lisa Lutz, executive director of innovation and evaluation for Wichita schools.

“Some students did get kicked out, but were able to log back in immediately and had not lost any of their work,” Lutz said of the morning session. “The online tools were not available, but students didn’t seem to need them, so it worked out.”

School districts across the state have been reporting technical problems with the rollout of new state assessment tests this week. Wichita officials are postponing most tests until after spring break, but they agreed to help test the system with small groups of seventh-graders at Robinson Middle School on Thursday.

Lutz said new online tools such as a highlighter, strike-through tool, calculator and eraser did not work, but none were essential to the science assessment.

“Students had access to scratch paper, and that was sufficient,” she said.

During the afternoon session, several students got kicked off as they were trying to close out of the system, Lutz said. But they were able to log back in without losing any of their responses, she said.

This year’s state assessments, designed by the University of Kansas’ Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, are a new type of test that reflects Common Core state standards. The tests feature more complex questions and “technology-enhanced” items that require students to enter numerical answers or drag and drop items into correct categories.

State officials have emphasized that this year’s test is a trial run – the basic “skeleton” of a fully Common Core-aligned test that will go into effect to meet a federal requirement in 2015.

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