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RE: [K12OSN] State Testing



Dave,

You sound a bit bitter...;)

-Paul

--
Paul VanGundy
Information Technology Director
Epping High School
Epping Middle School
P: 603.679.5472
F: 603.679.2966
vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us
Registered Linux User #398783

-----Original Message-----
From: David Trask [mailto:dtrask vcsvikings org] 
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:22 AM
To: vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us
Cc: Support list for opensource software in schools.
Subject: Re: [K12OSN] State Testing

What we've found in Maine is that not all web-based apps are created equal.
This is primarily because many companies are LAZY and thus choose to make a
web app that requires Active X or some other proprietary plug-in just to
work.  So, yes, they can tout it as web-based.....but......only with IE...or
whatever.  Maine has a student information database called MEDMS (Maine
Educational Data Management System).....in which all students are entered
thus making online testing, Federal child count....etc.....much easier
(supposedly).  In fact, when one kid moves to another school in-state....a
simple change is made in the database and their record is reassigned to the
other school.  Anyway....this project has been long in development and in
the beginning is was an abyssmal failure due to the company they contracted
with initially developing everything using Windows tools and thus making it
so it would only be supoported with IE.  Well.....the shit hit the fan when
many of us (primarily Mac and Linux schools) went nuts!  What the hell were
we supposed to do?  In the end the company relented and agreed to port it to
any 128bit capable browser.  Anyway....next thing we know...the "Windows"
company can't deliver the product (after millions had been sunk into it) so
the State pulls out and is now working with someone else (or developing
in-house...not totally sure).  Now it's online and working (yes it has bugs,
but not big ones).  AND...it works with most if not all browsers.  

Maine also works with a company called Measured Progress for the MEA online
testing.  This is another case of silly ideas and poor planning. 
At least in Maine we have a choice whether or not to use paper tests or
online.  We choose paper as it's too high stakes to risk it.  The MEA uses a
Java based TDS (Test Delivery Server) at each location that supposedly talks
to the primary server at Measured Progress...along with a Java client (using
Java Web Start).  Problem is that there are way too many points of failure.
Computers that sleep, (Students that sleep), broken connections between the
TDS and the client, broken connections between the TDS and Measured
Progress....etc.  Thus we've had some tests that were never
recorded.....etc.  

What I don't understand is why we can't use something similar to Moodle to
deliver tests?  Worried about server overload?  Assign one server to "x"
schools.....or schedule the test so everyone isn't taking it at once. 
There are a myriad of things that could be done in that manner.  PHP, Perl,
MySQL....have any of these testing folks ever heard of this stuff? 
!!!   (Can anyone tell I'm pissed?)

*Stepping off soapbox*



vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us on Monday, February 27, 2006 at 9:57 PM +0000
wrote:
>Mark,
>
>Most web-based applications now are browser independent. Again, 
>PowerSchool (works in IE, Safari, Opera, Firefox.....).
>
>-Paul
>
>On Mon, 2006-02-27 at 10:37 -0500, mark ehle homelinux org wrote:
>> That's fine as long as you get them to make web-based applications 
>> that
>run on
>> ALL browsers instead of just IE.
>> 
>> Mark E.
>> 
>> Quoting Paul VanGundy <vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us>:
>> 
>> > All,
>> >
>> > Generally speaking, the only way to ensure that you get platform 
>> > independent programs/applications is to go web-based. I've really 
>> > encouraged our state to start focusing on web-based testing and 
>> > applications because that really is the only way to be platform 
>> > independent. Besides, it's generally less expensive (both labor and
>> > time) to create a web-based application versus creating a Windows 
>> > executable and the numerous install options Linux offers (.deb, 
>> > .rpm, .bin, .tar.gz, etc...) and the Mac .sit file. About a
>week
>> > and a half ago I was on here talking about PowerSchool and how it's 
>> > web-based (as is Centre...I don't want to go there again. :)) and 
>> > how because it is web-based we aren't tied down to one operating 
>> > system on our client side. We can use Macs, Windows, and Linux 
>> > clients to view
>our
>> > student information system database. In my humble opinion, 
>> > web-based
>is
>> > the way to go if your district and state can go that route.
>> >
>> > -Paul
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, 2006-02-27 at 06:46 -0700, Ken Grant wrote:
>> > > Hi:
>> > >
>> > > 	Thanks for all your wonderful responses!  It is good to know, in 
>> > > a bizzare sort of way, that other states have tried and failed at 
>> > > implementing testing in this way.
>> > >
>> > > 	I'm going to talk to anyone I can at Harcourt and the state to 
>> > > make sure that all platforms are considered when implementing 
>> > > this type
>of
>> > > testing.
>> > >
>> > > 	Bandwidth issues were mentioned and the public schools in 
>> > > Wyoming
>are
>> > > having a devil of a time with this issue.  The whole thing has 
>> > > been poorly thought out and implemented.
>> > >
>> > > Cheers,
>> > > Ken
>> > >
>> > > On Sun, 26 Feb 2006 11:45:23 -0700 Ken Grant 
>> > > <kmgrant actaccess net> wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > Hello All:
>> > > >
>> > > > 	This may or may not be the best place to address this issue,

>> > > > but
>> > > I
>> > > > figure there are enough tech/educational experts here that
>someone is
>> > > > bound to have encountered it.
>> > > >
>> > > > 	My problem: Our state, Wyoming, is converting all
standardized
>> > > testing
>> > > > for compliance with the "No Child Left Behind" law to computers.
>> > > > Starting in about six weeks, children in grades 3-8, and grade 
>> > > > 11,
>> > > will
>> > > > be taking our state test online.  The test is designed by the
>state
>> > > but
>> > > > admisistered through Harcourt Assessment.  To ensure that
>students do
>> > > > not have access to other parts of the computer they are working
>on,
>> > > all
>> > > > testing must be done with a "secure browser." To get the 
>> > > > browser
>to
>> > > > be secure a program called SiteKiosk is used. And you guessed 
>> > > > it, it only runs on Windows and sometimes Macs.
>> > > >
>> > > > 	At this point the state is still dealing with many tech 
>> > > > issues, including getting SiteKiosk to run on Macs.  I've been 
>> > > > assured by people at the state level and at Harcourt Assessment 
>> > > > that no
>testing
>> > > has
>> > > > been done with Linux.  Since K12LTSP is being used by school
>districts
>> > > > across the nation, this seems to me to be a terrible oversight.
>> > > >
>> > > > 	I realize that the bigger school districts have the funding 
>> > > > for
>> > > Windows
>> > > > systems; however, we are a small Catholic school with very 
>> > > > little resources to invest in IT.  K12LTSP is the only way we 
>> > > > can get
>> > > computers
>> > > > in the classroom.
>> > > >
>> > > > 	All that said, have any of you been faced with a similar
issue?
>> > > If
>> > > > so, how have you dealt with it?  How many schools with K12LTSP 
>> > > > are
>> > > using
>> > > > it as their only platform?
>> > > >
>> > > > 	I plan to make as much noise as possible with both the state

>> > > > and
>> > > with
>> > > > Harcourt so that this situation can be corrected, but in the
>meantime
>> > > > any ideas on how to get SiteKiosk to run on Linux would be great.
>> > > Does
>> > > > anyone know if a Linux-based program exsists to make a  browser
>> > > secure?
>> > > >
>> > > > 	Thanks for reading my rant and for K12LTSP...it's an awesome
OS!
>> > > >
>> > > > Cheers,
>> > > > Ken
>> > > >
>> > > > _______________________________________________
>> > > > K12OSN mailing list
>> > > > K12OSN redhat com
>> > > > https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/k12osn
>> > > > For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
>> > >
>> > > _______________________________________________
>> > > K12OSN mailing list
>> > > K12OSN redhat com
>> > > https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/k12osn
>> > > For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
>> > --
>> > Paul VanGundy
>> > Information Technology Director
>> > Epping High School
>> > Epping Middle School
>> > P: 603.679.5452
>> > F: 603.679.2966
>> > vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us
>> > Registered Linux User #398783
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > K12OSN mailing list
>> > K12OSN redhat com
>> > https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/k12osn
>> > For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
>> >
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> _______________________________________________
>> K12OSN mailing list
>> K12OSN redhat com
>> https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/k12osn
>> For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>
>--
>Paul VanGundy
>Information Technology Director
>Epping High School
>Epping Middle School
>P: 603.679.5452
>F: 603.679.2966
>vangundypw sau14 k12 nh us
>Registered Linux User #398783
>
>_______________________________________________
>K12OSN mailing list
>K12OSN redhat com
>https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/k12osn
>For more info see <http://www.k12os.org>



David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Director
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask vcsvikings org
(207)923-3100


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