Following a technology failure Monday in the statewide Career and Technology Education (CTE) testing hardware, high school students in Wake County whose exams were interrupted by the glitch will not have to retake the test, but may choose to if they want.
Public relations director for Wake County Public Schools Renee McCoy confirmed that WCPSS students were affected by a malfunction in the hardware that caused the program to time out while students were in the middle of taking the exam.
“WCPSS will use other performance measures to evaluate students’ over-all skill level,” McCoy said in a statement, adding that students will not need to retest.
But some students already completed the CTE exam.
According to the mother of a Leesville Road High School student (her son did not take the CTE exam), the school’s principal left an automated message Tuesday morning stating that students whose exams were interrupted will be assessed based on their coursework and will not have to sit for the exam again. For students who were able to complete the exam, the results will count for 20 percent of their grade in their course.
“Not all students’ grades would be calculated in the same way,” wrote Leslie Stahlhut in an email. “I am concerned that there is no parity in the grades. My guess is, students who completed the exam in the first sitting will have the lowest grade averages…Students who choose to sit for the exam after having seen the first exam should have the highest group average because someone bombing the exam will have knowledge that it will not improve his or her grade and will elect not to take it.”
Joanne Honeycutt, the CTE director at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, said that a student’s classroom performance is a good indicator of how they will score on the CTE exam.
“In affirming the scores of the exam, our process takes into account the anticipated grades of the student,” Honeycutt said Tuesday. “Scaling a range over time as we validate those scores, we find that the scales are consistent with students’ performance in the classroom. We generally do not see that students on final exams score dramatically differently than in their classroom performance.”
Honeycutt said she understands the frustrations of students, teachers and parents and NC DPI is working to make the products better, noting that in the three years the CTE performance assessment program has been in use in North Carolina, students have not experienced any problems.
“This was an unfortunate and unforeseen hardware failure,” Honeycutt said. “We are giving advice to school districts so students will not be penalized because of this.”