Nevada Completes Common Core Computer Testing after Meltdown Last Year

Nevada education officials say students were able to complete online Common Core assessments this year, after catastrophic failures debilitated its computerized system last year.

The Nevada Department of Education reported that more than 270,000 students successfully completed the statewide, state-mandated exam developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and administered by Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), based in Minneapolis.

The End of Course (EOC) examination, which has replaced the high school proficiency examination, was administered online for the first time. More than 220,000 students in grades 3 to 8 successfully completed the Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and math. Additionally, about 70,000 students in grades 5 and 8 took the science exams online.

The rate of success for online assessments this cycle was 100 percent, said Peter Zutz, administrator of assessment, data and accountability management for the Nevada Department of Education.

That contrasts markedly with last year, when computer glitches halted Common Core testing in several states. In Nevada, computer-related problems prevented the majority of students from completing the test, and many students did not receive a score report. The Associated Press reported that only a third of Nevada students were able to take the test, and the U.S. Department of Education eventually granted the state a rare exemption from the federal mandate requiring at least 95 percent of students participate in an annual statewide exam.

Last year’s vendors were Measured Progress and American Institutes for Research, Zutz said.

This year is “a significant success, not just in comparison with testing assessment last year, but also moving forward,” Zutz said.

Steve Canavero, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction, called this year’s assessment “one of the most successful testing efforts in the country.”

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].