Computer crash disrupts state test for thousands of Minnesota students

  • Updated: April 16, 2013 - 8:20 PM

Thousands of students taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math test Tuesday experienced computer problems that prompted the state Department of Education to temporarily suspend testing.

About 15,000 students were taking the online math test when the computer server that receives students’ answers began to slow down, preventing some students from logging on to the system while others were forced to end their session early.

Jon Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research, the department’s testing vendor, said system engineers were able to identify the cause of the slowdown and do not anticipate problems when testing resumes.

“I am confident testing is going to be just fine tomorrow,” he said Tuesday night.

Students who experienced problems Tuesday will be able to go back and review their answers when testing resumes Wednesday, Cohen said.

At Chaska and Chanhassen high schools, half of the 10th-graders were scheduled to take the state math tests Tuesday. They’ll now have to retake the test Wednesday morning or later.

Eastern Carver County Schools spokesman Brett Johnson said, however, that students and teachers, who have spent months preparing for the test, remained calm.

“This hasn’t even registered as a disruption,” Johnson said.

In the state’s largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin, most students take the state tests on paper, except for students who receive special education services. On Tuesday, up to 300 of those students, out of the district’s 40,000 students, were unable to take the computer tests and will have to retake them Wednesday, spokeswoman Mary Olson said.

Most Minnesota students who take the MCA math tests do so online. Testing is expected to continue across the state through May 10.

Kim McGuire and Kelly Smith

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