April 21, 2016
PARCC, the controversial school testing system in New Jersey, resumed Thursday after a computer glitch shutdown testing in many schools across the state a day earlier, The Record newspaper reports.
Education Commissioner David Hespe called the system failure by Pearson Education, which administers the test, “totally unacceptable.”
“I would like to thank all the educators and students in our districts for their flexibility, patience, and continued dedication to providing a positive testing experience for our students,” Hespe told The Record.
“We apologize for Pearson’s failures and we will hold Pearson accountable for today’s disruption," he said. "We are committed to making sure such disruptions do not happen again.”
Tens of thousands of New Jersey students had skipped the exams last year, a backlash against standards-based testing.
But this year refusals had dropped and test taking was going well, according to school officials.
Other students were able to log in, but could not access all portions of the test. And schools some had no problems.
PARCC is given in math and English language arts to student in grades 3 to 11.
Elementary school testing can take place between April 4 and May 13. High school testing is allowed between April 11 and May 20.
PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, the group of states that developed the tests.
Hespe had touted the success of the online system last year.
The commissioner had told The Record on Wednesday that the computer problem “was not on our end or the school districts’ end” and stemmed from the computer system run by Pearson.
The testing company said the glitch was introduced by one of its employees.
State officials have said the exams can offer detailed information on student performance, useful to help them and improve classroom instruction. They argued that many students have graduated from high school but have needed remedial work before entering college.
But critics have said the exam fosters "teaching to the test."
A PARCC spokeswoman said the shutdown affected only New Jersey and had never previously happened anywhere.
To read the entire account from The Record, click here.