Common Core test crashes again on first full day back
April 21, 2015
LAS VEGAS — Nevada schools will have to document at least two attempts if they can't or won't finish the troubled Common Core testing, as two other states seemed to bounce back from technical problems that halted the federally mandated assessment process.
Last week, testing was stopped in Nevada, Montana and North Dakota after a widespread system crash caused by capacity issues with New Hampshire-based Measured Progress.
The company is contracted to administer the tests linked to hotly disputed, federally backed education standards.
All three states have since announced plans for school districts that say they can't or won't finish the test.
Nevada's state superintendent issued a memo Monday requiring two different testing attempts to be documented if schools seek leeway, at least locally.
The state is asking schools to continue the computerized or paper version of the English language arts and math tests for selected grades. The testing period was initially delayed in March because of a software problem but can run through the end of the school year.
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The two attempts at each school will qualify the schools for a state statute that allows school districts to document efforts to count as testing participation.
The state superintendent said he believes the federal participation requirement will be satisfied with the documented attempts, although he acknowledged that the testing mandate cannot be waived.
The U.S. Department of Education maintains there are no exceptions to the mandate to test at least 95 percent of all students.
The problem is unprecedented, as money has never been withheld over testing participation compliance.
Nevada had success with Friday's limited testing but by Monday morning, system-generated error messages were reported at a number of school districts.
The state has not suspended testing but the Las Vegas-based Clark County School District said it is now postponing the process. It has seen the heaviest delays across the three states as it attempts to test 150,000 students.
Leslie Arnold, an assistant superintendent, said the country's fifth largest school system will give testing another try later this week although schools are also being given instructions on how to document "good faith" efforts to test.
"We only have 28 instructional days left. We're running out of time," Arnold said.
Meanwhile, the other two states say testing has resumed in full.
North Dakota, which is also offering schools the option to document attempts in lieu of test results, reported minor login delays.
Montana said about 40 percent of school districts have committed to the full test so far after the state offered a complete waiver to the mandatory test.