This is just the latest problem with computer-based testing this season, as my Post colleague Emma Brown reported in this story. Tennessee scrapped its computer-administered standardized exams in February after problems were reported on the first day of testing. The next month, problems were reported with computer-administered tests being given in Texas, and earlier in April, Alaska officials cancelled all K-12 standardized testing for the year because of computer disruptions.
Similar problems were reported in previous testing seasons, with computerized testing problems in more than 30 states since 2013, according to the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest.
In New Jersey, state Education Commissioner David Hespe said that administration of the test, from the multistate consortium called the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, was being postponed until the problems could be fixed. He put the blame squarely on the maker of the test, Pearson, saying problems with the testing platform were “totally unacceptable.”
Pearson, NJ.com reported, wouldn’t comment and said it was up to the PARCC consortium to speak up. A PARCC spokesman said the outage was only in New Jersey but that any more details had to come from Hespe’s Department of Education.
Later, Pearson issued a statement saying that the company was “truly sorry” for the problem and apologized.
So who is to blame when a controversial test — which critics say is not a true measure of what students have learned or how effective teachers are — can’t be administered to students because the computer platform on which it is being given is faulty? When you look at every entity involved, here’s another question: Who isn’t?