ELearning App Technical Glitches


Importance of ELearning App Testing

If an elearning app/course is ready for deployment, then it needs to be tested thoroughly to avoid technical glitches. For example: If 5000 students are taking an online exam concurrently on an ELearning platform, the performance of the app should be checked before deployment.

As we are expertise in ELearning testing, we strongly recommend to test your e-Learning apps on multiple browsers & real devices and conduct load testing before going live.

The following blog post lists few popular elearning app tech glitches to understand the impacts and why is it so important to test E-Learning platforms?

TN Ready

TNReady is the state’s annual test to measure what students know and are able to do. It’s important because it serves as the cornerstone of Tennessee’s accountability system, with student growth scores incorporated into teacher evaluations and intervention strategies for low-performing schools.

As soon as the test began on, screens froze and students could not advance beyond the login page. Technical workers for the state and Questar (Leading assessment company in the US) scrambled to fix the problem only a week after the testing company dealt with similar issues in New York. Several hours later, they pinpointed a conflict in two state testing programs that share a login system, McQueen (Education Commissioner) emphasized that the state’s computer server did not “crash,” nor was there a capacity issue.

The problem was widespread, however, affecting students in at least 20 counties across Tennessee and in large districts in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Murfreesboro. He said a software patch fixed the problem (was their claim), Tennessee scrapped its computerized exams later, returning to the paper-and-pencil version when schools recorded a number of problems on the first day of testing.

Chalkbeat

Testing based on Common Core Standard (is an educational initiative from 2010 that details what K–12 students throughout the United States should know in English language arts and mathematics at the conclusion of each school grade) : State-wide Impact.

As most states in the US have moved to new standardized tests based on the Common Core during the past two years, many also have switched from administering those tests the old-fashioned way — with paper and No. 2 pencils — to delivering them online using computers, laptops and tablets.

But the shift to computer-based testing has been riddled with technical glitches that have spanned many testing companies and states, including those that have adopted Common Core and those using other new academic standards.

Stressed-out students have found they sometimes can’t log on to their exams or are left to panic when their answers suddenly disappear. Frustrated teachers have had to come up with last-minute lesson plans when testing fails. Some school systems — and even entire states — have had to abandon testing altogether because of Internet hiccups thousands of miles away.

Some states — including California, with the nation’s largest student enrolment — have been pleased, calling their shift to online testing surprisingly smooth and effective. But the balky tests in numerous other states raise a broader question: Can the exams — which are supposed to offer an objective view of student achievement — produce the kind of valid, reliable results that are necessary for a fair judgment of the performance of schools, teachers and students?

When the testing administration system is dysfunctional, the results are suspect, if not useless,” said Bob Schaeffer, the public education director at FairTest, a nonprofit organization that serves as a national watchdog on and frequent critic of K-12 testing. Malfunctions have disrupted computerized testing in more than 30 states since 2013, according to media reports compiled by FairTest

“The theory of standardized testing is that students are given equivalent questions in the same format and the same way,” Schaeffer (Public Education Director) said. “When you have some kids having a smooth testing experience and others having repeated disruptions, it’s no longer standardized.”

In March 2016, the state education chief in Texas called that state’s testing experience “simply unacceptable” after technical hiccups appeared to erase students’ answers on more than 14,000 exams.

Alaska officials this month cancelled all K-12 standardized testing for the year, citing “chaos” in schools because of repeated testing disruptions. The state was the victim of a freak accident: Someone operating a backhoe inadvertently severed a fiber-optic cable in Kansas, cutting the Last Frontier’s connection to its test vendor, the Achievement and Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas.

In Nevada last year, officials accused test vendor Measured Progress of breach of contract after a massive meltdown in the state’s new computer-based test. Students had trouble logging on and were repeatedly booted off the system; state officials allowed districts to stop testing via computer after two sincere attempts, and ultimately, just 30 percent of students completed their exams.

Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction, said he does not know exactly what went wrong, saying the cause of the problem could have been a problematic piece of code, a lack of server capacity or something else. But the problem came from Measured Progress, he said, not from schools or districts, which had been testing IT infrastructure for months.

“We’re not smart enough to know what failed where, but we know our test experience was not what we paid for,” Canavero said

Two other clients of New Hampshire-based Measured Progress, North Dakota and Montana, also experienced widespread technical problems last year. A spokesman for Measured Progress declined to comment.

Nevada ultimately reached a $1.3 million settlement with Measured Progress (a leader among K-12 educational assessment companies) and this year chose a new vendor, Data Recognition Corp. Testing has been smooth so far in Nevada this spring, Canavero said. But last year’s problems mean that the state was not able to measure student performance in a meaningful way.

Testing for students in Virginia was disrupted last year because a server reached its storage capacity, according to Pearson, the multinational publishing company that is Virginia’s test vendor.

Minnesota, another client of Pearson’s, saw widespread delays and problems last year because of what Pearson said was a denial-of-service attack, a deliberate action by hackers seeking to overload servers and slow their performance.

Annual State English Exams

Many children across New York couldn’t take the annual state English exams because technical glitches blocked some schools from testing on computers.

Schools have several days to administer the tests so they can reschedule, but the problem added stress and inconvenience at a time when anxiety runs high for some families and teachers. State officials said Questar Assessment Inc., the test vendor, were delayed in delivering the tests electronically to some students in the morning, but it was unclear how many were affected. District leaders said some students who started testing had trouble submitting answers.

Online Testing Glitches Causing Distrust in Technology

Some districts turn to paper assessments.

Florida, Kansas, and Oklahoma all suspended online testing at some point during testing windows in the month of April 2014 because of computer glitches that led to slow load times or kicked students out of the assessment systems. Indiana districts reported problems during the week of April 21, as they did practice testing, but, as of mid-week last week, officials from the state's department of education reported that only one district was beset by significant glitches.

In each of those states, the testing problems were attributed to the assessment provider. In Oklahoma, where 8,100 students in grades 6-12 experienced disruptions, the trouble arose from CTB/McGraw-Hill, which reported a hardware malfunction. That same issue was blamed for problems in Indiana, which also contracts with Monterey, Calif.-based CTB/McGraw-Hill, during the practice-testing period. In Florida, where 26 of 67 districts reported a variety of disruptions, test-provider Pearson, based in New York City, cited "degraded administrative functions" and quickly fixed the problems, said Joe Follick, a spokesman for the state's department of education. And early in April, Kansas education officials were forced to suspend administration of state exams after testing vendor the Center for Education Testing and Evaluation, based at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, was overwhelmed with attacks from unidentified hackers.

Mr. Ballard faulted state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi for awarding a $13 million contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill this year after last year's problems. At that time, Oklahoma education officials did not believe there was time to rebid the contract, said Tricia Pemberton, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma education department. Last year, CTB/McGraw-Hill paid more than $1.2 million to the state to cover damages suffered by students and teachers during testing.


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