A first-time attempt to have Ontario high school students complete standardized testing online was cancelled Thursday due to “widespread technical issues.”
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which oversees the tests, says up to 900 high schools across the province were scheduled to take part.
The literacy testing ran into “technical issues” Thursday morning with a number of school boards reporting delays.
“We regret to inform you that we have cancelled today’s assessment,” a statement by EQAO said. “We recognize all of the work that schools have done to prepare for this trial. We are disappointed at the outcome of this trial and sincerely apologize for this development.”
In a release Thursday, the Thames Valley District School Board reported that many of the school board’s secondary school students had trouble logging onto the new provincial network used to administer the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, or OSSLT.
“Although no problems were experienced with regards to TVDSB server capacity or bandwidth, the Education Quality and Accountability Office has acknowledged province-wide technical difficulties during the test of the new system to administer the test online,” said the release.
In a statement, Michelle Deman, Superintendent of Student Achievement, said students able to log on were attempting to complete the test, while “students unable to log onto the network will have the opportunity to write the test on its usual date in March.”
— Thames Valley DSB (@TVDSB) October 20, 2016
The list of Ontario school boards affected by the cancellation included:
- Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Halton District School Board
Peel District School Board
Peel Catholic District School Board
York District School Board
York Catholic District School Board
Wellington Catholic District School Board
Upper Grand District School Board
Renfrew County District School Board
Avon Maitland District School Board
Grand Erie School Board
Thames Valley District School Board
Greater Essex County District School Board
A number of school boards decided to resume regular classes in the afternoon while some chose to send students home.
Officials said the voluntary test serves as a trial of the technical readiness of the EQAO and the schools to support online assessments, and is a “risk-free” way for students to take it ahead of the next scheduled assessment in March 2017.
If students pass the online test, it will count, but if they fail or don’t complete it, they will be considered “first-time eligible” for the test next spring.
With files from David Shum of Global News