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Another Online ISTEP+ Problem Temporarily Halts Testing In IPS Schools

Screenshot / CTB Website

An update on CTB/McGraw Hill's website saying schools can resume administering the online ISTEP+ after a new problem led at least one district to temporarily halt testing.

Indianapolis Public Schools briefly halted online ISTEP+ testing Monday morning after a new “network issue” disrupted the exams.

But an update on the testing company’s website — as of 12:30 Eastern — says the issue “has been resolved,” and IPS administrators have given the go-ahead for schools to resume testing, district spokesperson John Althardt tells StateImpact.

Here’s the update from the website of testing company CTB/McGraw Hill, which says the disruption took place “at 10:43 – 10:52 a.m. EDT”:

CTB experienced a network issue at its primary data center this morning. This issue has been resolved and users may now resume testing.

Here’s what Althardt told us:

Today has been a little bit frustrating because our students, who are so close to completing this test have seen another disruption… We’ve got 42 schools that are at about 90 percent completion [with ISTEP+ testing]. We have the remainder of our schools are in that 60 to 70 percent range… We don’t have a large quantity of computers or computer labs that can facilitate us having that kind of flexibility in many of our buildings. We need as much time as possible to make sure all of our students are tested by that May 17 deadline.

Server issues at CTB/McGraw Hill disrupted online ISTEP+ testing on Monday, April 29, and again Tuesday, April 30.

The testing company has apologized. Members of the State Board of Education have called the disruptions “disastrous.”

UPDATE, 3:00 p.m. — A statement from CTB/McGraw Hill posted on the Indiana Department of Education page:

The CTB OAS application [the ISTEP+ testing website] experienced a 13-minute interruption this morning due to a Denial of Service attack against a separate internet application. Working with our network service providers, engineers quickly moved internet circuits to filter and isolate the problem and ensure OAS bandwidth was available to continue testing as quickly as possible. We continue to monitor the issue throughout the testing period

Let’s translate some of that. “Denial of service attack”? From All Things D:

Basically, it involves using an army of hijacked computers to overwhelm a site with so many requests for attention that it’s unable to respond to legitimate requests and thus becomes unavailable.

This post may be updated.

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