Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Paper vs. digital testing

Don't read this post.  No, really.  You don't need to read about my demoralizing day.  It wouldn't be fruitful.  I'm just needing to write about it to get it off my chest and I decided it might be humorous for me to reread in a few weeks when the pain isn't fresh. 

Today was the scheduled date for the second geometry benchmark of the year and I think the fourth or fifth benchmark we've given overall using our new online testing platform.  Last week, I met with the other high school math specialist in the district and we were getting more and more confident that we were able to troubleshoot some of the earliest problems. 

I woke up this morning and realized while shampooing my hair (the best time to think, really) that I hadn't gone back to this test to fix the rubric issue that had popped up in earlier tests.  When I got to work, I sent a message to the other specialist not to release the test until I could fix the rubrics.  Once you release a test and students take it, the test is unable to be edited and any questions on the test can also not be edited.  I was under the gun because the other school was giving the assessment first period and I only had about a 20 minute cushion. As it turns out, the rubric issue was a non-issue because of how that test was written. 

The other specialist tried to release the test and couldn't.  I changed permissions.  Still no.  I looked back to make sure the dates were correct and found we hadn't checked the box to make the test available online (yes, you have to check the box even though the thing is an online testing platform).  With that box checked, she released the test to her students. 

I started going through the test to write a paper answer key.  Granted, I should have done this a couple of days ago, but it wasn't a priority at the time.  I got to question 5 and couldn't figure out what we'd done wrong at first.  I realized after a few minutes that we'd changed the image associated with the question to make the question more interesting but we'd forgotten to change the text so the image was a rhombus and the text mentioned a trapezoid.  As I was rewriting this question so the issue would be resolved for next semester, I sent the other specialist a message telling her the correct text and she replied with, "Two of the other pictures don't show up either." 

I hunted down the problematic questions and made a Word document with the corrections, then went and made copies for all of our students.  When third period rolled around at 11, my school started giving the assessment.  I went to the first class.  The students logged in with minimal problems.  The teacher was able to release the test.  I went across the hall to the other 3rd period class.  The students logged in.  The teacher released the test.  Seven students didn't get the test on their computer.  All I could do to fix the problem then was to release the test to the whole school.  That got all of the 3rd period students in.  Some had such slow internet that they had to move seats in the room to find a better signal.  Fourth period, things went a hair smoother because the test was already released.  The students are still really struggling to format their birthdays MM/DD/YYYY for their login. 
Teacher: "Are you typing the slashes?"
Student: "Yes" (While typing dashes)
"Yes, I'm typing a slash!" (While holding shift so they're really typing a question mark.)
"Do I need those?" (Yes for the 1000th time)
Teacher: "Are you putting 4 digits for the year?"
Student: "Oh." (While typing "99")
Teacher: "Are you using two digits for the month?"
Student: "Oh."

Thank goodness I got to go straight to yoga after that crazy day!   I seriously miss paper testing.  While the data analysis is clunkier, the administration of it is so much smoother!  No one has trouble "loading" their papers.

Has your school made the transition to electronic testing for teacher-created or district-created assessments?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B