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263 districts see a computer glitch in Wednesday's ELA assessments

A glitch Wednesday in the computer-based ELA state assessments that made it difficult to download the tests affected schools in 263 districts, including some in Western New York.

Lake Shore Central and Depew were two of the local districts affected. Some students in certain grades in the 263 districts administering the computer-based tests experienced the delay, according to Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department.

"We have been in constant contact with schools and reminded them that there is flexibility built into the test schedule," DeSantis said in a written statement, adding that schools were able to postpone the testing to another day.

She said the state's contractor, Questar, reported more than 49,900 students completed computer-based testing Wednesday.

Middle Schoolers were taking the assessment at Lake Shore, and the problem affected the sixth and seventh grades for about a half hour, said district spokesman Josh Gregory. They took the test on Chromebooks before the eighth graders started their assessment.

"But they were back up and running by the time the eighth grade started testing," he said.

Students who were logged into their tests could not finish until the server responded and they could finalize their responses, he said.

A message to parents on the Depew website notes that there were difficulties with the computer-based tests Wednesday. The assessments, which were originally scheduled to run Wednesday and Thursday, will take place Thursday and Friday, the notice said. Parents were encouraged to contact building principals with any questions.

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Schools have a window of six school days in which to administer the two-day computer-based tests, while the two-day paper-based tests must be administered over a three-day window. Students statewide are taking the English language arts assessments in third through eighth grades this week. Most are using paper and pencil. This is the second year of computer-based testing.

Schools that gave the computer-based tests on Tuesday were able to successfully administer them to more than 32,000 students, according to a state official.

There were some calls to the support line asking for assistance, and all inquiries were addressed "expediently and to the schools' satisfaction," according to the state.

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