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Online MCA Test Glitches Causing Headaches, Delay

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Dozens of Minnesota school districts are in the midst of MCA standardized testing, one of the most stressful weeks of the year for students.

And this year it's much more stressful than usual, because there are some major glitches in the computer software students use -- so much so that the state is even looking into throwing some of the results out.

The Minnesota Department of Education has heard from about 50 districts saying students are getting kicked out of some of the tests as they take them online.

"Students are having really slow load times on online versions of the tests, or they are getting kicked out of the system in the districts where they are administering tests online," Charlene Briner of the Minnesota Department of Education.

At first Briner's office found a glitch with the outside server. But there are still problems that could cause a bigger one.

"You have kids who are having significant or repeated problems, of course that can call into question the validity of the results," Briner said.

She said they are trying to figure out if the test results should be adjusted because tests are supposed to be about accuracy.

"If it's stressful and it's not working right, it's not really reflecting what they know," parent Marta Shore said.

There is a built-in window in the testing, so if they have to hold off on tests, or shift them because of snow delays, students still have until May 10.

The state is also looking at several other options, including shifting to paper tests for the rest of the year.


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