MCA testing troubles remain at 2 Minn. schools

6:10 AM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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MINNETONKA, Minn. - Minnetonka is one of two districts in the state reporting problems with the online Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments testing this week. The other district has not been named.

District officials said the testing woes of weeks past continued at Minnetonka High School on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of Minnesota districts across the state reported major issues with the testing administered by the American Institute of Research of Washington, D.C. Last week, dozens of districts were still having problems. Thus far, the issues seem to be with AIR servers and coding.

"We have had a lot of troubles since the beginning of the testing this Spring with the test questions not coming up or the kids get what we call 'booted out' of it," said Dennis Peterson, Ph.D., Minnesota Schools Superintendent. "They cannot continue the test unless they start over."

Peterson said the district has had to suspend the testing "two or three times."

"We are asking that the (State Education) Department consider letting our students take (the MCA tests) over by paper and pencil, but we do not know if that will happen or not," said Peterson. "We think it is unfair to any of the students who have not had full time to test and have optimal circumstances."

State Education Department Chief of Staff Charlene Briner said "There is no practical way to get paper tests to Minnetonka students within the testing window."

The deadline to finish paper testing is Monday. Online testing must be completed by May 10.

As for extending the testing window, Briner said that would mean the state would "miss federal reporting deadlines." An extension by the state is being considered.

Also under consideration, according to Briner, are contracted financial penalties for AIR because of the problems. AIR has a three-year, $61 million contract with the state that expires in 2014.

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