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Student testing halted statewide, then resumed after vendor glitches

Standardized academic testing in School District 833 and across Minnesota was halted briefly last week due to technical glitches, but the assessments resumed a day later.

For at least two days earlier this month, students taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments could not log on because of a server failure. A glitch April 21 was blamed on an attempt to disrupt test vendor Pearson’s system by someone who launched a “distributed denial of service attack,” according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced last Thursday the decision to resume testing after “corrective actions” were taken by Pearson. The attack was not an attempt to steal student data but to disrupt testing. Pearson has assured the state that at no point was any student data at risk or compromised.

The problems did not affect the 400,000 tests that had already been completed statewide.

The MCA test students in grades 3-8 on reading and math. High school sophomores are tested in reading, and juniors are assessed in math. Science is assessed in grades 5, 8 and high school.


William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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