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W.Va. school officials clear online testing kinks

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The first week of WESTEST 2 has gone smoothly despite the transition to online testing, area educators say.

In Harrison County, there have been only minor complications with a few individual computers, but none have significantly delayed or prevented testing, Assistant Superintendent Wendy Imperial said.

“I don’t think we’ve had any schoolwide or even computer lab delays,” she said.

Most problems have been resolved by in-house technicians.

The test’s software provider, CTB/McGraw-Hill also operates a help desk for the duration of the statewide testing window to help school systems with any problems that may arise.

Jim Eschenmann is technology coordinator for Harrison County Schools. The county prepared 3,000 computers to administer the test, he said.

Even with such a large number of computers, bandwidth has not been an issue.

“While some counties have experienced bandwidth issues, we haven’t gone over 20 percent utilization since I started monitoring it on Monday,” he said.

The individual problems have not been difficult to resolve, Fisher said.

“There were some cases of students who were, for whatever reason, kicked off the system and had to log back on to keep going. Everyone has reported to me that their progress had been saved,” he said. “It was more a nuisance than anything, as we’ve all experienced with software that can frustrate us.”

Students seem to prefer taking the test on a computer rather than with pencil and paper, Fisher said.

“I think the change from the paper and pencil version to the online software has pleased our students. They find it more engaging. This is technology they use on a daily basis,” he said.

Bridgeport High School Principal Mark DeFazio said he was the first to admit he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of changing to an online test.

“I was one that was more outspoken than anyone…

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