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January 22, 2019

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Superintendent: Computerized testing glitches are breach of contract

Nevada Superintendent Dale Erquiaga has declared a breach of contract by two testing companies after ongoing technical problems have hampered standardized testing in Nevada for the second week in a row.

In a release Tuesday evening, Erquiaga said testing company Measured Progress and test creator Smarter Balanced, both paid to administer Nevada’s yearly standardized tests in reading and math, have failed to deliver on their state contracts.

The announcement comes days after Erquiaga said last week that he was exploring “legal remedies” against Measured Progress.

“It is clear that Nevada’s testing vendors have failed to uphold their obligations,” Erquiaga said in a statement. “Today more than 10,000 students appear to have successfully participated in the testing, but the success is attributable only to the fact that Clark County School District had suspended testing. The system clearly cannot handle the full extent of our student population.”

In order to allow other districts to take the test without overloading the Measured Progress servers, Erquiaga asked the Clark County School District to postpone testing for the second day in a row.

States are required by the federal government to test at least 95 percent of their students, with millions in federal funding at stake if they fail to do so.

Problems started last Tuesday morning as students in Nevada and two other states tried to login to Measured Progress’ servers to take the computerized Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). The high number of students taking the test overloaded the company’s servers and halted testing until Friday.

According to the NDE, the company said the problems would be fixed over the weekend and in time for testing on Monday, when students in Washoe County were scheduled to begin testing. The problems came back yesterday morning, however, as thousands of students across the state logged in at once to take the test.

Meanwhile, anti-Common Core activists in the state have latched onto the news. John Eppolito, president of Nevadans Against Common Core, called it a “debacle” and is continuing a campaign urging lawmakers to repeal the standards.

“This is an incredibly unfortunate situation,” Erquiaga said in a statement. “While we await a response from the vendors, we will continue to work with all our districts and the Charter Authority to find the best solutions for their students and teachers.”

Testing started in Nevada on March 30 and ends June 12.

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