North Dakota to be compensated for student testing problems

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The company that developed new state assessments for math and English will pay North Dakota more than $316,000 in compensation for the problems that schools had administering the online tests this year, the state school superintendent said Friday.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which developed the tests intended to align with Common Core standards, will forfeit to the state about $92,000 of the $553,900 in membership fees for the last academic year, state School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said. The state's fee for this school year will be cut by around 40 percent — about $224,000.

North Dakota is one of three states, along with Montana and Nevada, that contract with New Hampshire-based Measured Progress to administer the tests.

North Dakota's three-year contract started this year and cost $4.6 million. Baesler has said the state has paid only about $700,000 of the contract so far.

Measured Progress' testing has been plagued by technical glitches, including the inability of some students to log into the system. Montana and Nevada have experienced similar problems. Twenty-one of North Dakota's 179 school districts had dropped the online assessments in favor of paper-and-pencil tests.

North Dakota adopted Common Core standards in 2011 and began to fully implement them during the 2013-14 school year.

Students in grades three through eight and high school juniors began taking the tests in the past school year. Participation rate for the assessments is expected to reach above the goal of 95 percent, and results from last spring's assessments are scheduled to be released in the coming weeks, Baesler said.

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