DISCONNECTED: Alaska has canceled previously scheduled, federally mandated state testing in science, English and math for the year because of statewide internet connectivity issues, the Washington Post reports. Interim Alaska Education Commissioner Susan McCauley told the Post, "I don’t believe under the circumstances that the assessment we were administering was a valid assessment. Validity relies on a standardized assessment condition, and things were anything but standardized in Alaska last week. The level of chaos was just beyond what is acceptable in terms of a learning environment for students."
The cause? At the University of Kansas, a worker accidentally severed a fiber optic cable that was a vital part of the connection between UK's Achievement and Assessment Institute and Alaskan schools. The Institute provides Alaska's tests, the Alaska Measures of Progress.
Students facing disrupted connections were often taken back to the start rather than where they left off, effectively invalidating the assessment. As such, test completion rates form only a partial picture of students' reality. Alaska reports that just four percent of students were able to complete the science portion of the Alaska Measures of Progress assessment, and only five percent finished the math section.
This would have been the second year Alaska administered the test, the Post reports. The 49th state has chosen to adopt a new test for 2016-2017.