Pearson, the testing contractor for Minnesota, will give the state a $1 million credit after students and educators faced a plague of testing issues this past spring.
State officials had to cancel two days of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments after the company's system faced a cyber attack. There were also complaints of students being booted off during the exam, issues with calculators and long lag times.
This year's testing season marked the first year that the state has issued MCAs completely online.
"The disruptions experienced by students and teachers this spring were simply unacceptable," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in a statement. "Pearson has been working with us in good faith to arrive at this significant settlement that provides us with assurances, and recognizes the magnitude of the impacts that the failures had on the state."
Pearson will give the $1 million credit from its contract, which is valued at $40.8 million over three years. The company will also provide additional services, such as testing preparation programs, training and support to districts, valued at nearly $4.7 million.
The state's teachers' union told parents last week that they should not trust this year's MCA results, despite an audit saying the glitches had no statistical impact on test scores.
"While we don't think the settlement is high enough given the widespread frustrations and anxiety caused by the technical glitches, at least Pearson is willing to take some responsibility for the disruptions," said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht.
The chair of the Senate Education Finance Division, Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL - Maplewood, said he was pleased with the agreement. Wiger and other legislators included language in the education finance bill that would require MDE to provide compensation to districts if they experienced interruptions during this year's testing season. The Education Commissioner will also have to report any future suspension of testing to the legislature.
"MDE and the legislature should be diligent in making sure there are no further test disruptions," Wiger said in a statement. "We will hold Pearson accountable if there are further problems."
The education department said Pearson will move MCA testing to a newer testing platform that is more secure.
Doug Kubach, Pearson's president of school, said the company is pleased they were able to "bring a positive resolution to this issue."