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North Dakota testing sees delays again

Standardized testing in North Dakota hit another snag Monday but resumed by early afternoon, according to the state assessment website.

Students resumed the state English language arts and math test after a 20-minute delay, the most recent glitch among several the state has experienced with the new online test.

Students in North Dakota and Montana experienced shortages because of attempts by Measured Progress, the company that administers tests for the two states, to reset test sessions, said spokesman Saul Hafenbredl.

North Dakota is among a number of states that have reported troubles this year executing Common Core-aligned tests.

Grand Forks Public Schools had paused testing a few weeks ago after a similar delay. School testing officials were not available for comment on Monday.

Testing troubles

State and education officials have said they're frustrated by the testing delays, which have occurred since the testing window opened in late March.

New Hampshire-based Measured Progress said last week that vendor Smarter Balanced had delayed sending updated code and prevented the company from predicting how it would perform during peak times.

Measured Progress, which also administers tests for Nevada, anticipated disruptions. Testing this many students "at once throughout the country on an open-source platform is new and unprecedented," the company said.

Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the state's racing against the clock to finish testing. All students in grades three through eight and high school juniors must complete testing by the end of the year.

Baesler also recently informed districts they could request paper forms of the test or pursue other options to hasten the process. Last Tuesday, a day before the deadline to request paper tests, Baesler said about 8 percent of the state's total 179 districts had made the request. That represents 2,178 students.

According to the most recent information available, 47 percent of state students have so far successfully completed the test.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit www.grandforksherald.com.