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Some students experience testing glitch

School District 833 English Language Learners in grades three through eight and 11th-grade had some trouble with on-line state math tests this week.

District Technology Director Al Lindquist said Thursday, April 26, that he expects a software problem to be cleared up.

The glitch affected 277 students not yet proficient enough in the English language to take a written test. Students listened to audio questions, according to Rick Spicuzza, district director of research, evaluation and assessment.

The glitch will not affect student scores, he said, because those who had difficulty will be tested again. Less than 12 students are affected, Spicuzza said.

The tests, created by Pearson Educational Measurement, worked well on Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13, Lindquist said.

Problems occurred on Monday, April 23, said Lindquist, who at first looked for a problem on the district's end.

He said Pearson sent a memo to districts, through the Minnesota Department of Education, to change the software to offer more time between questions for answers to be recorded.

Spicuzza said districts did not get that information until 5 p.m. Tuesday.

By Thursday, April 26, problems were cleared up with the exception of one school that needed direct help from a Pearson representative.

More than two dozen districts called the state with similar problems, according to education department officials.

The tests are the first attempt to meet the goal of having all testing via the Internet by 2009.

Spicuzza said he hopes there will not be further difficulties in on-line testing because, beginning this week, the first state science test is being administered to 3,500 district students in grades five, eight and 10. Testing is slated to be completed by May 8.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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