Breach of Contract Declared After Common Core Testing Crash

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UPDATE (NEWS RELEASE) 4/21/2015:
After consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga today announced he is notifying Measured Progress and Smarter Balanced that they are in breach of contract for failure to deliver Nevada’s required criterion-referenced examinations in accordance with the provisions of their existing State contracts.

“It is clear that Nevada’s testing vendors have failed to uphold their obligations,” said Superintendent Erquiaga. “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.”

Erquiaga has asked Clark County Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky to suspend testing for at least one more day. During this time, the school district will work with the Department of Education to determine which schools may have already substantially complied with the guidance issued yesterday regarding schools that have made a good faith effort to complete tests despite the vendors’ failings. “Before we ask Clark County to resume testing, we will determine which schools must continue to participate in the assessment,” Erquiaga said.

While the Department works with Clark County to identify a plan to resume testing, all other districts and charter schools will continue to test as they did today. For those schools that were unable to complete testing prior to today and if additional schools are unable to continue testing, the administrative relief provided by the Department will allow those schools to document a good faith effort and register their attempts with the State.

“This is an incredibly unfortunate situation,” Erquiaga said. “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.”

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CARSON CITY, NV - Students across Nevada are facing a problem. The computerized Common Core test this year is plagued with technical errors. This is the second time this year schools have faced this problem.

It's been a frustrating process this past week for the state Department of Education as it tries to work out all the kinks. Schools are now trying to make the best out of a bad situation so students won't be affected.

"Certainly no one anticipated a problem of this magnitude; it's really unacceptable," said Dale Erquiaga, Nevada superintendent of public instruction.

Nearly five thousand students statewide were ready to take their test Monday morning, but instead logged on to received an error message.

"It's like when you log onto Netflix and you get that spinning circle, it's very similar. Children are unable to log on because so many are logging on."

This is the first year Nevada schools have completely moved to computerized testing--a move that is linked to incorporate Common Core standards into the curriculum. However, the Nevada Department of Education says the problems come from the company it's contracted, not the school system.

"This error is a computer error. It doesn't have anything to do with the smarter balance test questions and it certainly has nothing to do with the standards taught in the classrooms," said Erquiaga.

Now, the department is giving each school district and charter schools two chances to meet federal and state testing requirements before the end of the school year.

Schools have the choice-- continue with the online version or request a paper and pencil version. Either way it won't affect your child.

"If their child does complete a test, they should still be able to use that information with their teach to gauge where their child is in the school year and if your child doesn't get tested in the school year, there's no harm to the student."

Montana and North Dakota hired the same company to administer the test and are experiencing the same problems as Nevada. Erquiaga says no district has gone back to pencil and paper testing, adding that districts are committed to sticking it out with computer testing.