It was deja vu for many school leaders in Shelby County Schools when the state’s online system stalled on the first day of testing Monday for many high school students.
Though the problems were different than the online testing collapse in February 2016 that also impacted younger students, the bottom line for many educators was frustration over another snafu in a system that is the cornerstone of state accountability for teachers and schools.
Many students were unable to log in to start their TNReady tests, while some started and finished without a hitch. Others logged in successfully, but were later kicked out of the system.
Natalia Powers, the district’s chief of communications, said high school principals could adjust their testing schedules as they saw fit during the state’s three-week testing window.
“After the issues were resolved by the state, schools were able to resume their testing schedule for the rest of the day if they chose to do so,” she said in an email. Powers did not specify how many of the district’s 27 high schools had problems with the test.
The state Department of Education said its testing vendor fixed the problem a few hours after problems began, but Shelby County Schools left it up to individual high schools to decide if they would resume testing or postpone until the next day.
At Kirby High School, Principal Steevon Hunter said only “a small percentage” of students were able to finish testing Monday. That was on the heels of a large pep rally, like several other Memphis schools did, to pump up students about the test.
“This let a little wind out of their sails,” he said. “But my hope is this was a one-time glitch and that we’ll live to fight another day and test tomorrow.”
Some surrounding school districts suspended testing Monday and plan to resume Tuesday, while others successfully finished their scheduled testing in the afternoon after the state announced the online fix.
Bartlett City Schools suspended testing Monday for high school students after numerous problems with the online system. “We plan to resume our testing schedule tomorrow,” district spokesman Jason Sykes said in an email.
The computer issues extended to Germantown Municipal School District, which initially experienced log-in issues, although students at the district’s only high school — Houston High — were able to complete testing for the day.
Officials at Millington Municipal Schools also experienced issues with digital testing in the morning, although those issues have been resolved, said Stacy Ross, a spokesman for the district.