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Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV

Teachers frustrated over RISE testing issues

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - May 14th, 2019 @ 9:52pm



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SALT LAKE CITY — Computer glitches and shutdowns have plagued students taking the RISE assessment test statewide. Now we're hearing from some teachers who are worried the test scores will be invalid or won’t support the hard work their kids have done in class.

Teachers with the Granite Education Association have told their representatives they’ve run into a long list of problems giving the tests. One teacher, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal, wrote in an email: “Given all the issues, I do not feel confident at all in the data that we are collecting.”

“Statewide, there have been disruptions to the testing,” said Michael McDonough, an elementary resource teacher at Woodstock Elementary School in the Granite School District, and president of the Granite Education Association.

“This new test that we're using doesn’t seem to be working,” he said. “So we’re a little nervous about that.”

Test problems include:

  • Test questions not formatted correctly
  • Choices for answers not loading
  • Tests freezing on students

Last Friday, the system went down statewide, leaving teachers scrambling. “Some of them are worried, but all of them are frustrated,” said McDonough.

Testing glitches have stolen valuable teaching time, and potentially inaccurately graded students, according to McDonough.

“If the test score isn’t valid, and the test score gets used to label a school with a grade, then that has consequences,” he said.

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A school under mandate to improve may not show the necessary improvement, and in a worst-case scenario, could be closed.

“We have a large number of turnaround schools in our district,” said Star Orullian, Granite Education Association executive director. “So, everybody is watching very carefully (to see) if the data comes back accurate and valid.”

Teachers are also worried about their students and what they’re learning this time of year, she said.

“They’re really super concerned about their kids,” said Orullian. “Kids struggle with test stress and test anxiety. So yeah, that’s a big deal for the kids.”

The State Board of Education said Monday it would bring in a third party to evaluate the system and determine how best to deal with RISE testing issues.

The teachers union representatives say it will take a while before they know whether the final tests are valid.

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