Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When the First Sound You Hear Is a Crash

You know it's not going to be a good day.

Today, The District had scheduled an online math test for all the seventh graders at all the middle schools.  The idea, I've been told, is to track how they are doing in math and try to target deficits, at risk kids, etc.  (It's something called Learning Links if you're familiar with that.)

This involved some coordination as all the other grade level teams had to roll their computer labs down to the seventh grade homeroom teachers in order to make sure that we had a computer for all 306 7th graders.  We all the instructions on how the kids were to sign in, and what their passwords were, and all that sort of fun stuff. The idea was that it would probably take about two class periods and they'd take the test during their related arts classes so it wouldn't interrupt instructional time (but it did take away our entire planning - again.)

It was suggested that we get the computers all opened, turned on, and logged into the network before homeroom ended so they'd be ready to go as soon as the bell rang and they could take their tests.  So, since my kids have used the labs before, as they walked in, I gave them their instruction sheet, with their computer number on it, and told them to get their computer, turn it on, and get logged in.  No problem.

Until I heard one of them go crashing to the floor.

Oh great.  It had been sitting on a table, someone bumped it, and crash.  After that, the screen was busted, so we were short one computer (we each had enough to cover our homerooms.)  At this point I was hoping someone would be absent (someone was).

That was just the start of the trip to hell and back.

My kids had no trouble, for the most part, logging into the network.  After all, we did that last week and for those who couldn't remember, I had their information.  It was getting to the testing site that was a bear.  It took some kids at least 45 minutes to get logged in as the site just hung there and kept asking them to refresh until they finally got something.  I had, at various times, the testing coordinator, the academic coach, The Principal, Guidance Goober (who's a tech head), and just about every other person who wasn't actually teaching a class in there.

And my class wasn't having near the problems the others were.

Mrs. Eagle's labs did not, for some reason, have the website bookmarked and set up so they could go right to it, so that was a real pain, especially because most 7th graders can't type in a URL correctly the first five times.  And then they just hung there (like mine did).

Mr. Math, Mrs. Reading, and Mrs. Language had the network crash so they lost all connection for a while.

We were supposed to be done by the end of 2nd.  We finished, for the most part, ten minutes short of 4th period (so no teaching today for 3rd).  Some kids were still working by that time and guidance came and got them and they finished by the end of 4th.

At least the Guidance Goober sent out an email asking for suggestions on how to make the process better for next time (later this spring) when we administer it again.  Perhaps not having every seventh grader in the county log in at one time?

Just a thought.

Fall break can't come soon enough.


Miss Angel said...

LOL! Computers are a cool and efficient way to take tests THEORETICALLY but they also pretty much guarantee that something will go wrong!

Darren said...

Despite the best intentions of the tech-heads, *we're not there yet*.