Mississippi

Public-school tests glitch across state

Twelve thousand Mississippi students spent nearly 20 minutes unable to take their Mississippi Assessment Program tests Wednesday morning.

Minneapolis, Minns-based Questar Assessment Inc., the assessment vendor responsible for distributing Mississippi’s state tests, reported a glitch in its program Wednesday. With Questar, students take their end-of-the-year assessments online.

“Earlier today, some Mississippi testing sites experienced intermittent connectivity issues lasting less than 20 minutes,” a press release from Questar stated. “Questar Assessment Inc. is investigating the root cause. Testing has resumed and there are currently 12,000 students testing in the state.”

“With any statewide online assessment, we expected some technology glitches. The connectivity issues were quickly addressed and students who were affected resumed testing,” state superintendent Dr. Carey Wright said in a Mississippi Department of Education statement.

Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright.

Before Questar, the State of Mississippi was a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, but decided to dump it last year, even though they still administered PARCC assessments.

The Mississippi Board of Education voted last year to pay Questar $122 million for the privilege of distributing state assessments for the next 10 years. With the contract, Questar’s responsibility is to administer Mississippi’s state tests to third- through eighth-grade students, in addition to the Algebra I and English II subject-area tests.

Questar administers its online tests through Nextera, its online assessment system. Some students may also be able to take tests on pencil and paper. Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Education say that they do not expect the connectivity issues to affect students’ test scores.

Questar representatives say that they do not expect connectivity issues to impact test scores, either. They say that the issue affected students’ ability to log-in.

Sierra Mannie is an education reporting fellow for the Jackson Free Press and The Hechinger Report. Email her at sierra@jacksonfreepress.com. For more education stories visit jfp.ms/education.

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Sierra Mannie

Sierra Mannie is a freelance writer. She was previously an education reporting fellow for the Hechinger Report and the Jackson Free Press. She is a… See Archive

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