Chromebook issues force school to scramble to finish Aspire testing

Quinn Dekker, Staff writer

During a three-hour time slot reserved by De Pere High School on Thursday, Sept. 13, for junior pre-ACT testing, freshmen and sophomore classes were scheduled to take the Aspire test, another practice ACT test done online. Unfortunately for about a third of those classes, the Chromebooks failed to load the Aspire, resulting in the test being pushed back for those students.

According to associate principal Mrs. Jadin-Rice, the technical issues were caused by not having the operating system up-to-date on many Chromebooks. The reason only some of the books were affected is that updating the operating system on the Chromebooks is done gradually over time to keep Chromebooks available during the updating process. Only Chromebooks with the latest update were capable of launching the Aspire, she said.

Mrs. Jadin-Rice also admitted to being stressed by the situation but stated, “If there was a time for this to happen, it was now. If this were to happen in spring, it would have been much harder to fix.”  

She felt this because the school is required to administer these standardized tests, and having these problems earlier in the year gives the school time to handle retakes and fix the issue so it does not happen again.

In order to fill the three hours of available class time, teachers did a variety of activities.

Mrs. Wollin’s class spent the time doing team-building exercises and getting to know one another.

Mr. Wilson’s class used the time as a study hall. His students were glad to get out of testing, but he said, “The frustrating thing is how retaking the test could impact scheduling.”

The process of making up the missed tests has already begun. Mrs. Jadin-Rice stated that students are being brought to the community room to take the test at times that best suit their individual schedule.

For most students, they will be brought down during a study hall, but students with full schedules will have to miss out on some class, she said. The class they are missing out on will be taken into account when deciding retake times. Students who did not have enough time to finish the testing will also be given the opportunity to do so.

Despite this year’s technical issues, teachers and administration still have faith in the Aspire program.

Ms. Jadin-Rice said, “It is well researched” and “is great practice for the ACT.”

Some changes may be made to the test in future years, such as separating the different subjects and several tests a year to record growth, according to Jadin-Rice, but the Aspire test is here to stay as long as there are computers to run it on.