After glitches, Minnesota parts ways with testing company


Minnesota is in the market for a new standardized testing vendor for its schools after state education officials agreed to drop the company that oversaw glitch-plagued assessments.

Documents made public late Wednesday state that the testing contractor American Institutes for Research won't seek the renewal of its three-year, $61 million contract, which expires in 2014, the Associated Press reported. The state and AIR have one more round of testing together, in the spring.

It was time to part ways, state officials agreed. “Quite simply, what happened last spring is not acceptable,” department chief of staff Charlene Briner, told the Star Tribune.

State officials have grown increasingly impatient with the Washington, D.C.-based company for a number of problems, including technical troubles experienced by 15,000 students at 400 schools during a two-day test session in April. A The glitches meant students could not take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments online on the designated test day. The assessment measures whether students meet state academic standards.

Jon Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research, at the time said the company had identified the cause of a slowdown and did not expect any more problems, but about 50 Minnesota school districts experienced trouble the following week.

An analysis later determined that the glitches likely did not affect student scores.

Other problems included issues with the way test questions were designed, scoring methods, the company's poor communication and the fact that the company missed deadlines, state officials have said. However, they do not plan to push for penalties against the contractor, the AP reports.

Cohen has blamed state officials, citing unreasonable demands.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.