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Kansas Statewide Assessments On-line Shutdown by Cyber Attack - KOAM TV 7

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Kansas Statewide Assessments On-line Shutdown by Cyber Attack

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Pittsburg, KS -  A new kind of hacking has brought  Kansas statewide testing to a halt.

 Officials say the Kansas  Interactive Testing Engine  (KITE) was the target of a cyber attack that shut down computer servers by bombarding them with extreme volumes of data.

Pittsburg students are among those impacted by the problem.

4th graders at Westside elementary are back in class getting language arts lessons. They're supposed to be taking state interactive assessments with drop and drag questions and answers, something teachers say they would enjoy. But the system was shut down by hackers.

Assistant superintendent Brian Biermann says, “We were actually trying to test during those days  and the screens just froze up. The test was just spinning, kicking students out.”

Westside fourth grade teacher, Kriztena Graham says, “Monday was complete chaos. We were set to test, not testing.  Monday was crazy but 

 we are pretty flexible.”

Teachers are being forced to create double the lesson plans.

Principal Ann Lee at Westside says, “Are we assessing and if we are,  we have this type schedule. If we don't, we have this schedule.  Two sets of plans and time to create each for  the teachers. That’s the biggest headache right now.”

And all say they work to get kids pumped up to take the test.  And many are disappointed.

Graham says, “The frustrating part  is that we're not sure when we're  gonna take it. Several of the kids feel the same way. When you ask them,  are you glad you don’t have to take it,  they say no. I just want it to be done, I want it to go over with.”

The district will try testing again April14th.  And while teachers hope the  students  have the chance to experience the online testing, which they believe kids will enjoy,  they say any delays past that date would create more headaches.

Graham says, “May is insane. We are jammed packed.  Towards the end of April its like were running for the rest  the year.  We have field trips lined up. We have lots of fun activities going on. It, definitely the further we push it back, the more events we're getting into.

Including the district's own testing 

 Graham says, “My fear is, like with AIMSweb, is we have a testing window for that too.  So they're gonna go straight from states assessment testing straight into the AIMSweb testing. And by the time that rolls around, they're gonna be so burnt out, with all the tests you know.”

District officials say this year and next are pilot years for the statewide assessment which incorporates new Kansas college and career readiness standards. So accreditation is not impacted if not all scores are registered.

However, the district believes the testing is important to help give valid feedback on the content of the test and the quality of the questions.

 The state says testing can resume tomorrow for districts willing to try.

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