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Majority of State's Students Did Not Take Standardized Exams Due to Technical Issues

Majority of State's Students Did Not Take Standardized Exams Due to Technical Issues

In Nevada, only 30 percent of public school students in the entire state successfully completed standardized exams for the 2014-2015 school year due to technical difficulties administering the test online.

Dale Erquiaga, the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction, says he doesn't expect any penalty from the federal government despite the fact that under the No Child Left Behind act, states are required to test 95% of its student population or be subject to, sanctions such as loss of federal funding.

Erquiaga claims that the testing companies- Smart Balanced Assessment Consortium and Measured Progress- to which Nevada paid $4 million to for execution of administering the exams- are to blame.

"This year, the state provided schools with a lengthy 11-week window to test students, considering that students would have to take turns at computers. But that didn't solve problems caused by Measured Progress' computer servers, which would crash and halt all testing in Nevada if more than about 5 percent of students logged on at the same," according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Because of repetitive test crashes, some school districts had to cancel testing altogether, as was such the case in Clark County, where only five percent of 116,000 were tested, the article said.

The state Department of Education has, as a result, had no choice but to "not issue star ratings this year for Nevada schools under the state's system to hold schools accountable for performance."

According to the article, Erquiaga is pursuing legal action against the testing companies, which had similar issues in North Dakota and Montana as well.

This year marks the biggest in support of the opt-movement, or the decision of parents to have their children sit out from state administered exams as a statement against over-testing. Many states, especially ones where hundreds of thousands opted out like in New York, are wondering if the failure to meet the 95 percent tested threshold will cost them federal funding.

So far, the answer to the question of how and when the federal government will get involved is unknown.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/19/2015

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