Suspended: Tech problems force state to halt student testing

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Another day of computer glitches led Minnesota to suspend the online tests students are required to take until the company that handles the testing can promise the problems are solved.

Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius says Tuesday marked the third day in the past week that students have had trouble logging in to the testing system, adding "We cannot allow these disruptions to further impact student learning."

The department says Pearson, the company that administers the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, has identified some technical problems and is working to resolve them.

"We hold our students to high standards and we expect no less of Pearson. Students deserve a worry-free testing experience without interruptions," Cassellius said.

The Pioneer Press reports Pearson is in the first year of a $38 million contract to provide the reading, math, and science tests, which are required for students in 3rd through 8th grades and high school.

The newspaper says Pearson, one of the nation's biggest providers of school tests, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

KARE 11 says the delays in accessing the testing system ranged up to 2 1/2 hours at some schools. Officials tell the station Pearson had added another server in hopes of correcting the problems that popped up last week.

Farmington's school superintendent tells the Pioneer Press some schools were able to log into the system but found that is was frustratingly slow.

MPR News reports May 9 is the deadline for students to take the tests. The test coordinator for the Bloomington schools tells the network that deadline should be extended if delays continue.

The Education Department says 400,000 Minnesota students have taken the exams since testing opened in March and those results are not affected by the computer problems.

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