77°F
weather icon Clear

Nye schools working through SBAC test problems

Nye County School District officials are hoping to move beyond the problems related to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Nevada schools have been preparing for the online tests for several years, but only a small portion of the state’s 214,000 students have been tested.

The problems are attributed to computer glitches that freeze the computers and keyboards once the tests are administered.

Superintendent Dale Norton said on Tuesday that the district has been able to resume district-wide testing, with 75 percent of the elementary and middle school students completing the testing.

“This is being accomplished with minimal additional time taken away from the daily academic focus for students,” he said.

Rosemary Clarke Middle School Principal Tim Wombaker said he too is noticing improvements with the assessment consortium.

SBAC testing had a rough start but has since improved,” he said. “The kids and teachers are working very hard to complete the required testing. Our district staff has been on site to help alleviate any problems we have had and that is appreciated.”

Wombaker also said he’s noticed there are times throughout the day when the testing appears to proceed smoothly.

“We seem to have the most problems when Clark County is online due to their sheer number of participants,” Wombaker said. “We are staying upbeat and proactive and hope we have positive results. I want to thank the parents, students, Rosemary Clarke Middle School staff and the Nye County School District staff for their hard work and patience.”

Norton said the district recently received a letter from Nevada Deputy Superintendent Steve Canavero, urging patience until all of the computer glitches are worked out.

“Measured Progress notified the Nevada Department of Education that in certain school districts, that its capacity to deliver the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium could not meet the demand due to a spike in student participation,” Canavero stated. “Montana and North Dakota were also experiencing this issue.”

State Testing and Instructional Specialist Debbie Carle said the school district was to begin the testing March 15, but had to delay the exams for about two weeks.

“The northern schools and our Pahrump elementary schools started testing and we got through it but there were a few problems with having to use alternate student identification numbers instead of their regular student ID number,” she said.

The New Hampshire-based company Measured Progress was contracted to provide testing in Nevada, North Dakota and Montana in January, while the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium created the tests.

Carle said many of the problems associated with the testing can be attributed to the test provider.

“Not all of the tests were downloaded to all of the students, but we got through that and those were on the Measured Progress side,” she said. “On our side, when we were able to get in, the most problems were the computers freezing or keyboards freezing, but if their test was paused, and they logged back in, then they were able to resume.”

In a press release issued by Measured Progress on Friday, the company said they are working with affected school districts to fix the problems.

“We regret that schools in Nevada were unable to complete their Smarter Balanced online assessments over the past few days,” the letter stated. “We apologize for the frustration and inconvenience that students and educators experienced.”

The letter went on to say that the company is actively working with the state of Nevada on a plan to resolve the difficulties and improve the testing experience for all students.

“We continue to work with officials in Nevada to deliver Smarter Balanced online assessments,” the letter stated.

“We were ready,” Canavero said on Friday. “Our schools were ready, our teachers were ready. Everybody has been preparing for so long. It’s disappointing.”

Nevada paid $4 million for its online standardized tests.

State Superintendent Dale Erquiaga sent notices of contract breach to the test-maker Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and test-giver Measured Progress.

Erquiaga stated, in part, the ‘breach has caused undetermined damages, while noting the Nevada Department of Education reserves the rights to pursue all legal remedies to be made whole.’

Erquiaga gave both companies time to fix the problems and provide a fully functioning assessment package.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Sisolak issues proclaims Nevada Day

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday issued a proclamation naming Oct. 31 as Nevada Day in honor of the Silver State’s 156th birthday. Friday will be observed as Nevada Day, and state offices are closed for the official holiday.

Halloween events abound in Pahrump

Several local individuals and organizations including the Nye County Sheriff’s Office are hosting a special two-day Halloween celebration.

Friday declared a day to remember nuke workers

Cold War Patriots will host a virtual 12th Annual Cold War Patriots Official National Day of Remembrance on Friday, Oct. 30. The presentation will be available for on-demand viewing any time. The celebration recognizes the men and women who worked in the U.S. nuclear weapons and uranium industries and honors those who are no longer with us.

Nye County floats possibility of balloon ordinance

Whether finding them fascinating or frightening, everyone seems to have an opinion on hot air balloons and for several Pahrump locals, they have recently become a big problem.

Sisolak proclaims Oct. 12 Indigenous Peoples Day

Gov. Steve Sisolak has proclaimed Oct. 12 Indigenous People’s Day in Nevada, a proclamation that recognizes the Paiutes, Shoshone and Washoe nations as early inhabitants of the Great Basin and reiterates the state’s commitment to close the equity gap between indigenous people and the larger population.

Attorneys general oppose limits on foreign students

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced Tuesday he joined 22 state attorneys general in opposing efforts by the Trump administration to severely restrict the amount of time international students are allowed to stay in the United States.

Last Bottle House resident passes

Evan Thompson III, the last person to have actually lived in the Tom Kelly Bottle House in Rhyolite, passed away Oct. 2 at the age of 83. Most of the information in this article comes from an interview I conducted with him some five years ago.

Deal brings vision plans to Nevada Health Link

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange on Wednesday announced a partnership with VSP Individual Vision Plans, an offering of VSP Vision Care, the only national not-for-profit vision benefits company.

Health district offers tips for a safe Halloween

Traditional Halloween activities can be unsafe during a pandemic, and the Southern Nevada Health District is issuing tips to help plan for a safer and healthier Halloween.