Western Kansas schools deal with standardized test problems

GARDEN CITY, Kan — Three cyber hacks on the Kansas Department of Education’s new standardized testing system has left schools across the state waiting for a solution.  The deadline to finish the pilot test is on May 16th.

“This week we have not participated because of the remaining issues they have had,” said Roy Cessna, Garden City Public School’s Public Information Coordinator.

40 counties in Western Kansas make up BOE District 5 and board member Sally Cauble said every county has had to deal with issues from the cyber attack.

“They have had a lot of issues and they’re working as fast as they can to correct it,” she said of the team at KU, tasked with fixing the crash and some expected glitches.  “I think we all realize that this has been very challenging to the field.”

The pilot test is based on the new focus on career and college readiness, challenging kids to understand the meaning behind their lessons.

After the cyber-attacks there was concern that the pilot year would be wasted and the results wouldn’t be viable to make a real test for next year.

Added security is helping significantly, but while they wait to clear up the remaining problems the Department of Education said they’re still focusing on the main point, the students.  To help the school districts and their teachers focus on the education of the kids it was decided that the pilot results wouldn’t affect accreditation, so no matter what happens by May 16th, the Kansas schools that are accredited will stay accredited.

With progress being made though, about half of Kansas students have completed the test, meaning there is a chance the pilot won’t have been a waste of time.

“We do believe we’re going to have enough kids complete enough test items,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education Brad Neuenswander.

So, the pilot will serve its purpose, to create an education baseline to build from.

“[Then] we can move forward and provide a high quality of education for all of our students,” said Cessna.

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