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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

PSAT: Perturbed Students, Admin, Teachers

IT and Guidance shed light on recent testing issues
Photo by Kaylee Mague
College Board’s new software to allow students to take the PSAT online did not work properly during testing at LHS last week, causing some students not to be able to take the test.

Standardized testing can often be stressful for high school students, a feeling that was compounded by the technical difficulties experienced during the PSAT on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

A glitch in Test Day Toolkit, a new platform used by teachers proctoring the PSAT, caused students to be unable to log in and begin testing at the expected time, according to Colleen West-Coates, the coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. 

“Test Day Toolkit, which is put out by CollegeBoard, failed [at] right about 7:40 a.m.,” West-Coates said. “When that system failed, proctors couldn’t get to their room codes… they couldn’t get any further.”

This malfunction in the testing platform resulted in students being unable to start their tests until the issue was resolved around 9 am.

“It was pretty rough,” junior Ava Dulac said. “We sat there for about two hours trying to work out all the technical difficulties. None of it worked.” 

The main issue, according to IT support specialist Ryan Barrett, was because of College Board.

“Anything that the IT department could have done to mitigate it here at the school was done ahead of time,” said Barrett.

Before the testing day, Barrett and the IT department worked on “installing a new software program [BlueBook]” on all computers to make sure everyone had the software they needed to participate in the testing.

“Anybody that had major computer damage or issues, we rectified before the day of testing, so everyone could test on their computer,” said Barrett. “We try to make sure all computers are up to date the best we can, but when you are dealing with a national test, we never know what we are going to deal with until sometimes the day of.”

Barrett assumed there would be problems with the new application on PSAT day, but not to the extent of what ended up happening.

“I didn’t think we would have a school-wide outage,” Barrett said, “but it’s a new tool for [College Board] and it didn’t work on their end. There were several other schools in the area that also had issues.”

Although some students thought the wifi was too weak to handle everybody on the database at once, Barrett said that the LHS wifi can actually “handle all four grade levels being in the building at the same time and then some.” 

On Wednesday, there were only three out of the four grade levels present, so the school wifi did not impact testing, according to Barrett.

“Definitely the amount of students that test in the school at the same time can cause some slowness, but not to the level of degree as [what happened on testing day],” Barrett said. ”Every time we do testing like this, we try to mitigate as much as we can by putting students in certain areas of the school to balance, so we don’t have everyone in one area.”

According to Director of School Counseling Maureen O’Dea, this testing issue did not affect LHS alone, but “was a nationwide issue with the PSAT/NMSQT.”

“The issue was resolved around 9:15 a.m., but many schools on the East Coast start around 7:20 a.m.,” O’Dea said, “which means the issue impacted this area more than others. Rooms that were impacted by the glitches and malfunctions pivoted and had students work on their college and career readiness goals, tasks that were meant to be done after testing.” 

Students who are looking to retake the test should refer to the email O’Dea sent out to families on Monday morning.

“If your student chooses to take the PSAT again,” O’Dea said, “their previous scores will be canceled, and the new scores will override those scores.”

Anyone interested in retaking the exam must please complete this Google Form no later than Wednesday, Oct. 18 by 8 am

College Board is allowing students who were affected to retake the test by Oct. 26.

LHS is “still identifying” how the retakes will be completed. 

At LHS we want to make sure any student impacted is allowed to retake the test,” O’Dea said.


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About the Contributor
Bridget Berry
Bridget Berry, News Editor
In her first year on staff, senior Bridget Berry holds the position of News Editor. She enjoys writing, listening to music, and knitting in her free time. Outside of the Lancer Spirit, she partakes in musical theater and is part of the school's chamber choir.

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    Marjorie Lukas
    Oct 23, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    I heard about this happening. I am so happy that the students will be allowed to take it again. Thanks for doing such a great job reporting on this. Marjorie Lukas