New Jersey

PARCC Testing Disrupted at NJ Schools

Students at many New Jersey schools discovered Wednesday that they were unable to access online tests by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

The disruption was created as a result of errors by Pearson, said Laura Slover, PARCC CEO. Pearson, the company that creates the exams, is the entry point for school districts participating in the PARCC consortium.

The computer glitch came in the third week of a testing process that spans five weeks.

The glitch was caused by an employee and wasn't a problem with server capacity or the testing system, said Scott Overland, a Pearson spokesman.

"Every resource at our disposal is being directed toward identifying the cause of the problem and correcting it as soon as possible without creating any additional inconvenience," he said.

At Teaneck High School, some students came to school ealry to get the test started, only to stop midway through. Sophomore Keri Dundon said she was almost done when she had to stop.

"I was basically done and a guy came in and said we had to stop because there was a glitch with the entire test through all different schools in the area," she said. 

The snafu is the latest setback for the controversial computer-based testing system.

Last year, just 40 percent of students passed both the language and math portions of the test, while 130,000 students didn’t take the test, including almost one-fourth of 11th graders. Many parents had their children opt out, calling the test disruptive.

The state Department of Education is working with Pearson to resolve the problem and ensure that testing can resume Thursday morning, said Peter Shulman, the agency's deputy commissioner.

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