Wednesday, June 05, 2013

ACT Failure Noted, Warned

Holliday: If ACT Inc. can’t prove online testing issues fixed, 
Kentucky students will take paper & pencil exams 

This from KSBA:
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday continued his tough talk Wednesday about this year’s problems with online, end-of-course testing, telling the Kentucky Board of Education he’s ready to return to paper and pencil tests next year.

“Last school year, we used ACT QualityCore for end-of-course exams online and everything went smoothly,” Holliday said at the outset of today’s KBE meeting. “This year, ACT sold QualityCore to Alabama and Ohio schools.  Our vendor had not adequately prepared for the number of students taking the test at the same time.

“We had about 2,000 students who had their online tests interrupted; some by a few minutes, some by two days. All students were able to complete the either online or using paper and pencils. We will ensure that no student, no school and no student is adversely impacted by this interruption with the online testing.  We feel we should apologize to these students and teachers for the disruption,” he said.

Holliday, who said last Friday during a KDE webinar that he was prepared to seek a new testing vendor if ACT couldn’t provide assurances it had addressed the capacity issue, went even further in his update to the state board.

“Trust me. The vendor is hearing about it from me and our team here. If we can’t get this addressed, we will consider a new RFP for a new vendor,” he said. “We can’t get it done by next year. It’s already summer and it sometimes takes six months to get through an RFP process. But if we don’t get assurances by this fall that this has been addressed, we’ll go all paper and pencil next year, and then go to an RFP process to possibly select a new vendor for the 2014-15 school year.”

Later today, the KBE is slated to take action on proposed new common core standards on science. It’s public comment period Wednesday morning was almost exclusively focused on those standards. Also on today’s agenda is action on the first proposals for relief from some state regulations and statutes under the new Districts of Innovation law.


Anonymous said...

Same old story as always, vendor hired with big promises and then can't provide service level or timeliness. Next will be an expectation that state lower its expectation in order to accomidate vendor.

Richard Day said...


Next will be an announcement that ACT (whose Explore and Plan tests were sold to Kentucky as intermediate measures of college readiness such that Kentucky wrote 8th and 10th grade tests into Senate Bill 1) is doing away with Explore and Plan in favor of a new test called Aspire.

Anonymous said...

It is just so discouraging when you see schools cutting music programs and teaching positions as governmental dollars continue to be used on these enormous vendor contracts. Today I started my online training for evaluating teachers which all are suppose to be implementing within the next year. Got to pay a vendor to make sure we are evaluating teachers correctly, Got to pay a vendor to make sure teachers are teaching students......Just so discouraging that our profession has become the operational equivalent of working in a factory.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ACT, why hasn't the KDE released state data on 2012-2013 scores? I have my own school's scores for students but we had 2011-2012 state released scores for everyone out by this time last year. Wonder how our juniors did in the state this year?

Anonymous said...

Same thing is happening with AdvancED. They were hot get that ASSIST state contract but I don't think they have the manpower to oversee it. Even my school accreditation this year through AdvancED took twice as long to get the new report back and up to a couple of weeks before my site visit, they still didn't have a team put together, much less have reviewed our self report.

Not to sound like a techniphob, but seems like folks have bought into some idea that technology is going to allow folks to circumvent adequate staffing and support at both the school house and the vendor's shop.

Anonymous said...

I could careless about old Doc H putting on his boots and going to town to give ACT folks a piece of his mind. He and his team are the ones in charge and who took this path so its own them and their leadership.

Think about this recent census info:

KY 18 and under pop. = 1,025,017
AL 18 and under pop. = 1,133,175
OH 18 and under pop. = 2,689,804

Doc and "his team" can let ACT "hear" all they want and "consider" a new RFP for two years from now but ACT just bagged almost 4 million new customers in AL and OH, don't know if KY's 2000 students' disrupted end of course exams is going to worry ACT folks that much.

Come on Doc, you might be able to bully around like that with some little district but you can't play that game outside KY

Anonymous said...

What bugs me is how the state made such a big todo about these end of course exams counting 20% of kids course grades. The moment their vendor can't produce and KDE can't get them to respond as promised, we are all told to just not worry about counting this toward the students' course grade this year. Man, you try to pull something like that during testing at your school - you get thrown under the testing allogation bus and all of your schools' scores are invalidated.

Just the idea that KDE thought they could tell districts and schools how to calculate students' grades is enough to see how far they have overstepped their mission and regulatory boundaries. What next, dress code policy on testing days - oh yeah, they already require that as part of the curriculum posting sanitation rule.