Smarter Balanced Assessments 35

EdWeek reported yesterday that after about four weeks of problems, “Montana Lets Schools Cancel Smarter Balanced Testing After Technical Woes“.

In a statement issued April 15, Measured Progress [,Montana’s vendor for the Smarter Balanced assessments,] said it was working with Smarter Balanced to fix the problems in its three client states[.]

“Measured Progress increased server capacity well beyond the specifications provided by Smarter Balanced and its platform vendor. However, even with the increased number of servers, the platform does not support the number of students currently accessing the system.” the organization said in the statement. (The “platform vendor” is a reference to AIR.) (Emphasis added.)

Honestly, it is hard not to suspect that statewide online assessments are more of a technical challenge than its supporters really want to acknowledge. Note that the article indicates that Montana has previous experience with both the vendor, Measured Progress, and the Smarter Balanced assessments.

Montana got permission from the U.S. Department of Education to use Smarter Balanced field tests as a replacement for their typical state exams last year. Given that, I asked why that experience hadn’t better prepared the state for the tests, and she responded, “We were prepared. You would think that would be the way it goes.”