Wake Ed

January 15, 2014

State computer glitch affects online final exams

Some North Carolina students are not being required to retake online final CTE exams that were interrupted by a computer glitch on Monday.

Some North Carolina high school students will not have to retake final exams that were interrupted Monday by a state computer glitch.

The computer system became non-responsive as some students were taking their online Career and Technical Education final exams, according to Joanne Honeycutt, CTE director for the state Department of Public Instruction. The problem caused students to ask how they were going to finish the tests, which account for 20 percent of their final grade.

“The hardware failure is an unfortunate and unforeseen circumstance,” Honeycutt said.

School districts have five days to offer the online exams for this semester so state officials were unable to say how many were affected Monday. Students in Wake County were affected but not in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system.

But Honeycutt said the state is not requiring school districts to retest students who were impacted. Instead, she said they can use alternatives such as the student’s class average as the exam grade, not weigh the exam into the grade, or use other tests.

Wake County students will not be required to retake the exams. Teachers will use other performance measures such as classroom performance, earlier test scores, homework, quizzes and projects, according to Renee McCoy, a Wake schools’ spokeswoman.

Although DPI has had a number of problems implementing a new computer information system this school year, state officials say Monday’s problem is unrelated. Before Monday, Honeycutt said they’ve had good experiences for more than three years with the software used for the online CTE testing.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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