The West Winsor-Plainsboro Regional School District had to cancel the controversial PARCC assessment test yesterday due to technical problems while attempting to administer the test.
“These issues concerned the proctor caching of the test,” Superintendent of Schools David Aderhold said. “We have been working with New Jersey Department of Education and Pearson Services to resolve these issues.”
Proctor caching refers to downloading test content from the testing company’s server to a secure loca computer prior to starting a test session. With proctor caching, if the Internet goes down during testing, students still should have access to test content and can continue testing while technicians resolve Internet connection issues, according to test manufacturer Pearson Services. Proctor caching software does not require the addition of a dedicated server. It can be installed on an existing server or computer to serve test content to student computers.
School district officials worked throughout the day and evening with the New Jersey Department of Education and Pearson Services to resolve these issues. The test has been rescheduled for today, March 3.
“As of this morning, it is believed that we have resolved the technical concerns that were experienced on Monday. Additionally, we have requested and the Department of Education has agreed to provide onsite technical support to assist the district should any additional concerns surface Tuesday morning,” school district officials said in a statement this morning.
In New Jersey, the PARCC tests are replacing NJASK in fulfilling the federal requirement for annual standardized testing imposed by the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2001.
Over the past few weeks, the New Jersey Education Association has aired commercials saying that state tests hurt instruction and exhaust children. Anti-testing activists have urged parents to let their children opt out. The tests are mandatory, although individual districts can choose how to enforce the rules. Many Princeton area students have decided to opt out of the tests.
Supporters say the tests will offer richer, more nuanced data on student skills than past state tests. Critics counter that the test and preparation for it eat up too much class time and that some of the test questions are confusing.
The tests cover math and English language arts. Students typically undergo multiple sessions of testing, totaling 10 or 11 hours, with some testing in March and some in May.
In Princeton, the test was postponed yesterday because of the weather-related delayed school openings. The test will be given today.