State education officials halted the annual assessment tests on Tuesday after a third day of technical problems prevented some students from beginning them.

Education officials said they hope to resume the tests later this week if Pearson, the company that administers the online Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, resolves the issues that have kept some students from logging in, said Josh Collins, a spokesman for the state Department of Education.

More than 500,000 Minnesota students in third through eighth and in 10th and 11th grades take some or all the tests covering math, reading and science. The results help determine how well a student is doing and also how well a school is faring.

About 1 million of these tests are taken in Minnesota from early March through early May. So far, nearly 400,000 tests have been completed, including 19,000 that were taken on Monday, Collins said.

Education officials said Pearson identified the “technical problems” as the number of students taking the tests neared its peak on Tuesday. Pearson has discovered similar problems in other districts throughout the country, Collins said.

The problem hasn’t affected the tests that already have been completed, Minnesota officials said.

“Students already give up precious instructional time for annual accountability tests,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “We cannot allow these disruptions to further impact student learning.”

State officials told Pearson that testing won’t resume until the problems are resolved. “Students deserve a worry-free testing experience without interruptions,” Cassellius said.

If the problems with the tests persist, Collins said state officials might have to extend this year’s testing period.