Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Maine's SBA Loaded With Glitches

Lewsiton Middle School teacher Brian Banton took training, complete with practice for the Maine assessments that will be take on iPads. According to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, his report on that experience was direct and to the point.

"I was shocked to discover it doesn't work," Banton said. “As our training went on this morning, teachers in the room looked at each other and said, 'We can't do this.'”

He offered specific examples. When a point is entered on the iPad, it can't be removed. So no correcting mistakes. Multiplication symbols do not appear as multiplication symbols. The test should allow students to see both a graph and questions about it at the same time-- but they can't.

Maine schools do have the option of offering the paper version of the test, but for those just discovering that the computer version is a mess, it's too late-- the final date for choosing the paper version was February 4.

Parents (including some who are teachers) are making noise about opting out, and the school committee chair is right with them:

"The state can say 'it's all fixed,' but show me it is fixed,” Handy said. Or, “we opt out altogether.”

Handy said he can be “a stick in the mud and say, 'We're not going to administer it because you have given us a faulty product.' When an entire school district does that, it puts the state on notice. I have no problem doing that.”

However the school superintendent cautioned that the state has made it clear that giving any aid and comfort to the opt out movement would be "playing with fire."

The school district is pursuing options with the state, but it appears to be one more example of Not Ready for Prime Time testing.


  1. Released several hours later, this video from the Sun Journal shows Mr Banton navigating the problems with the test.

  2. After this story came out, the Maine DOE was asked to respond to Superintendent Webster's comments. They later tweeted the following:
    "Maine DOE @mdoeNews
    of course a superintendent can notify parents of their rights and the ‪#‎MaineDOE‬ has never said otherwise."