Minnesota Senate Addresses Student Testing Debacle

ST. PAUL, Minn. – In a session that has already put the spotlight on the burden of too much student testing, comes a last-minute addition to the Senate E-12 Finance Omnibus Bill. This change addresses the recent failure of the statewide student testing system used to administer the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments test. In response to this recent system failure which affected hundreds of thousands of Minnesota students’ grades 3 through 11, Senate E-12 Policy and Budget Chair Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) has proposed an amendment to his bill.

The provision calls:
• The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to provide compensation to districts if they experienced an interruption of service during this year’s testing period
• For the Commissioner of Education to report on the performance of the testing vendor to the legislature
• For the Commissioner of Education to immediately report any future suspensions of testing to the legislature.

Sen. Wiger says it is important to address this significant failing on behalf of testing vendor NCS Pearson, Inc.; a company the state paid $33 million over a two-year period to offer testing services.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that NCS Pearson, Inc.’s system has failed hundreds of thousands of our hard-working K-12 students. Teachers are already told to spend too much of their classroom instructional time prepping students for these federally required tests, and now students are getting kicked off the system in the middle of testing, or are unable to access the tests at all,” said Wiger. “I want the Senate to make a strong statement about our dissatisfaction and put in place a series of actions that will be taken to remedy this situation.”

The amendment will be offered to the Senate’s E-12 Omnibus Finance bill before its next deadline of midnight on Friday, (4/24) before heading to the Senate Floor next week.

If you have questions or concerns on this bill, please contact Sen. Wiger at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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