State test suspension has little effect in area schools

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Testing suspended April 21; system back online April 23

Area school districts lost a testing day when the Minnesota Department of Education temporarily suspended use of the state’s online testing website.

On Tuesday, April 21, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced in a press release that the testing site would be shut down until technical problems within the testing system were resolved.

No timeframe was given on how long the test company, Pearson, would have the system offline.

The system was back online for students and administrators on Thursday, April 23.

The problem occurred, according to the state department, when students failed to access the system to complete the tests, a problem not experienced locally.

“The majority of the problems have occurred on the administrative side of the program,” said Stacy Gillette, Luverne Public School’s testing administrator.

“That is the side I use to set up and monitor the test sessions.”

Up until last week, the testing had been progressing relatively smooth.

In the state nearly 400,000 tests have been completed with the recent technical problems not adversely impacting those tests already completed.

Districts across the state have been testing students in grades 3-10 in reading, math and/or science as part of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment program. Districts were allowed to begin March 9.

Locally, effects of the daylong suspension were minimal due to how local school districts set up their testing schedules.

“The (Hills-Beaver Creek) district has a number of makeup days scheduled to accommodate unforeseen circumstances such as this,” said Superintendent Todd Holthaus.

Because districts set up their own testing, the schedules are also flexible.

“Our students are back in class receiving instruction instead of testing,” said Adrian Public School Superintendent Roger Graff.

Because the break in the test schedule affected districts statewide, Commissioner Cassellius extended the districts’ MCA completion deadline in May by an additional two days.

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