The standardized testing in Icelandic middle schools was botched for the second time this week, as the English test for 9th graders did not go as planned, visir.is reports. Students and teachers alike had problems logging on to the test servers, but the system failed repeatedly for numerous schools. The English test was supposed to be the third and last that 9th graders would undergo this week. It has now been postponed for an undecided amount of time, along with an Icelandic test which was botched last Wednesday.
"The result is a massive disappointment as it hurts to disappoint students, parents, and members of the education system. It is simply pitiful how our service provider failed at a crucial time", Sverrir Óskarsson, head of the assessment division of the Directorate of Education, commented.
Students were left bewildered as they were repeatedly kicked out of the testing system, whilst others could not log in at all. This was a source of considerable stress during the test, while the Directorate of Education tried to ensure that the test ran smoothly. The testing is completely computerized and it appears that the servers, which Assessment Systems takes care of, could not handle the traffic. The three subjects that students were to face an exam in were Icelandic, English, and math. A total of 4303 students were scheduled to take the tests in 141 schools around the country.
Teachers and students alike are disgruntled with the handling of the tests, as the standardized test for Icelandic was botched as well last Wednesday. The decision was made to allow schools to postpone the testing, while individual students that managed to finish the test can elect whether their final score stands or not. The Directorate of Education has received harsh criticism for its handling of the tests, and some have called for the tests to be abolished altogether.
The standardized tests were formerly used to assess students, as the results of the tests were used for the admittance process in high schools. In today's version, the tests are solely used to assess students academical standing. However, some high schools still use the tests as a benchmark for admitting students, along with the end of year test administered by the middle schools themselves. The results of the test can, therefore, affect the students lives drastically.
Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, the minister of Education Sciences and Culture, has met with Arnór Guðmundsson, the director of the Directorate of Education, to assess the situation and to ensure that further mishaps do not take place. A decision has yet to be taken whether the results from the botched tests will stand, or whether new tests will take place in the near future.