RISE Testing Glitches Continue

May 10, 2019

Credit Utah.gov

Utah students continue to experience glitches in the RISE state assessment test. It stands for Readiness, Improvement, Success and Empowerment. This is the first year using the new system which replaces the SAGE tests which were in place for the past five years. It’s reported that the servers were down Friday so testing is suspended until they’re up and running.

Park City School District Technology Director, Andrew Frink says they’re still seeing a few problems and his team is working with the vendor closely to figure out what is going wrong. The problems include not being able to submit completed tests or having to make multiple attempts. The system doesn’t allow the student to proceed to the second section of the test if they’re unable to submit the first section.

“In some situations, it means they may be locked out of their second session until tomorrow because the vendor has to clear all those locks overnight.”

He says these are like the problems they had last week when kids were unable to test during scheduled time periods. It resulted in students calling their parents to come get them at school since no classes were scheduled during the testing time periods.

Frink says he’s been in contact with other tech directors from other school systems.

“It’s definitely a frustration that it’s not going as smoothly. It’s of course, the first year of the system so it’s to be expected. I think we’re getting a pretty good handle for our students on how we can get them out and back in again. We’re all sharing notes and making sure we’re consistent and up on what’s going on so we can have this be as painless as possible."

Frink says the symptoms seem to be the same, students can’t submit their work. He’s instructed each school to contact the RISE help desk directly.

“This is now the fourth time we’ve seen it in the last two and a half weeks and that is a concern to me.”

Wasatch School District Assessment Specialist Brett Zaebel says they are also having problems with submittals.

“We’ve had to pause and log out on those and wait for servers to catch up a little bit and then we’ve been able to submit. Today, the servers are down and we’re not even able to log in, so we’ve suspended today at least for the time being. As soon as we get notice from Questar that that’s back up and running, we will resume.”

Zaebel says students and teachers have adapted. He thinks, even with the glitches, they’ll be able to finish testing by the 17th and do make-ups the following week.

“It’s not the most efficient but our teachers and our students have been very flexible with it. And when they can, they jump right on it and if it’s down, they’ll move into plan B.  We've had some where we couldn't test in one subject area right now, but we could test in a different one, so they just flopped and moved into that one because sessions were locked and different things.”

Zaebel says they don’t know how the problems with the new testing system will affect outcomes especially for students with test anxiety.

“We are told that the state, when it’s all done and testing is over, they’ll go back, and on these days where we’ve had troubles, they’ll run some data analysis against those days compared to days when it’s been smooth just to see what the variability is in the data itself.”

Math and Science results are instantly available for students to see as soon as they finish the test.Math and Science results are instantly available for students as soon as they finish their test. However, South Summit School District Spokesperson, Jodi Jones says that in addition to problems submitting tests, they are seeing discrepancies in results.

“We also have issues where there’s a difference between he scores that the students see verses the scores that the teachers see."

Language Arts results won’t be available until the fall. Testing continues through the end of this month.

Chief Operating Officer, Brad Baumgartner provided the following statement:

“We are aware of an issue with our data center that has caused some students and administrators a delay and are working with them to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  Questar Assessment Inc. will update the Utah State Board of Education frequently until we are confident a fix is in place.”