COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Some West Michigan schools Tuesday had a misstep with M-STEP, an annual test that gauges where students are compared to state standards. Technical difficulties forced some to cancel and reschedule the testing sessions.
From Vicksburg to Comstock, students prepared to take the M-STEP were not looking at its website, but rather error messages.
“Kids couldn’t log in on the Chromebooks that they … use for the testing,” Comstock Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Thoenes explained. “The impact, regardless of the cause, has been to disrupt the testing on the first day… It’s disappointing for the students to be ready to take the tests and not be able to.”
Thoenes said more than 120 of his students across six sections were greeted with the error message and will have to prep for another day.
“Kids are adaptable. I’m certain that they won’t remember or care when we go back to … this exact test. They’ll remember there was a problem on day one,” Thoenes said. “But when we get everything arranged and fixed, we’ll go back and we’ll test the kids. I know our kids will do super well. I’m optimistic that in the end, our systems will learn from this and be better for it. So that in the future we don’t have these kinds of problems.”
The problem wasn’t as widespread at Portage Public Schools. A spokesperson told News 8 that Morris Bridge Elementary had four classrooms taking the test. Two of them dealt with the login issue and had to reschedule but the other two had no problems.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, it was a server problem.
“Some Michigan schools experienced about 30 minutes of slow server speed and resulting error messages during M-STEP testing this morning,” a spokesman explained. “The brief slowdown, which was resolved by 10:20 a.m., was explained in a system announcement to local school districts. Testing at most schools statewide went smoothly.”
Schools still have six weeks to complete testing for the M-STEP. Thoenes said there were “planned redundancies” in the scheduling.
“You have these tests and then you make sure there’s time to get it all done in case there are issues like this,” Thoenes explained. “You never know where the problem is going to be, so that flexibility has always been helpful. This is a case in point where it’s going to pay dividends.”