NYSUT: Computer glitch a debacle for kids

April 02, 2019 07:02 PM

ALBANY - A computer glitch on Tuesday forced the State Education Department to call off all Computer Based Testing (CBT) statewide that was scheduled for Wednesday. Until the problem is fixed, students will get a respite from testing, and teachers will try to convince the state there shouldn't be a resumption of testing even if the problem is fixed.

Many students were unable to log-in, others couldn't submit their answers -- and some lost their work entirely. What happened to 3rd through 8th graders across the state on Tuesday, according to the New York State United Teachers, was a debacle.


"You have students sitting for high-stakes tests with these computers and we're not even sure there's research out there that shows that students as young as 8 years old should be taking computer based tests," said Jolene DiBrango, Executive Vice President of NYSUT.

DiBrango says children are getting trapped in the middle of a debate between adults, and she believes pressure is the last thing children need in their lives.

"You're going to see tears, anxiety, and it's absolutely detrimental to them," she says, "Not to mention the test itself is invalid if the child has to take it multiple times just to submit it to the state."

Beyond the computer glitch, DiBrango believes test questions, in many cases, are not age appropriate, and until teachers have a say in the test material, she believes there'll always be a lack of trust between teachers and the state.

"We want to be sure that teachers across New York State, that NYSUT selects, are part of the process," she asserted. "The problem is, you can have the best test in the world, but if the state fails to change their bench-marking process, if they're not accurately measuring the kids, then they're not valid."

Around 84,000 students did finish and submit their tests on Tuesday.

Questar has dispatched additional staff around the state to provide the technical assistance to schools and to help assure seamless resumption of testing.


Dan Levy

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