SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - PARCC testing is scheduled to resume at South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) schools tomorrow, after technical issues caused students to be unable to take the PARCC today in the SOMSD and throughout New Jersey.

New Jersey Commissioner David C. Hespe issued the following statement on the PARCC testing issue today:

I would like to thank all the educators and students in our districts for their flexibility, patience, and continued dedication to providing a positive testing experience for our students. We apologize for Pearson’s failures and we will hold Pearson accountable for today’s disruptions. We are committed to making sure such disruptions do not happen again.

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Commissioner Hespe also issued the following statement to all school districts:

Dear Colleagues,

This is the final notice for today regarding PARCC administration. At this time, Pearson has informed us that they have taken all necessary steps in fixing the problem that many districts experienced this morning. Pearson has advised that testing may resume tomorrow, April 21, 2016.

Although a review is ongoing, Pearson has confirmed that the problem was a log-on issue and was not attributable to server capacity or the actual test.

The Department is committed to assisting all districts in continuing the PARCC administration tomorrow. As always, districts may adjust testing schedules as needed and reach out to the Department if you require additional support. We appreciate your continued leadership and tremendous efforts in ensuring a positive testing experience for your students.

The Department will continue to be engaged with Pearson on this issue and will hold Person accountable for their failures today.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Hespe

Laura Slover, CEO of Parcc Inc., and the project manager for the PARCC assessment, stated via email that "we are disappointed by the disruptions in testing that were created today as a result of errors on the part of Pearson. These kinds of mistakes are unacceptable." 

"Since PARCC assessments were launched last year, over 17 million online PARCC tests have been successfully administered without disruption, including the 2.5 million tests this spring," said Slover.

Slover also conveyed that "it is important to us that these tests be administered in a way that eliminates avoidable disruptions and inconveniences, and earlier today, leaders from New Jersey and Parcc Inc. delivered that message to Pearson [the company that creates the PARCC exams] in the strongest possible terms."

Pearson also issued a statement regarding the testing issues today, which is as follows:

Pearson is truly sorry for an issue this morning that caused a disruption for New Jersey families and their students and resulted in the cancellation of PARCC testing today in many school districts. We know that students and teachers have put in a tremendous amount of work to master the high academic standards set forth in New Jersey, and they deserve a smooth testing experience.

Every resource at our disposal is being directed toward identifying the cause of the problem and correcting it as soon as possible without creating any additional inconvenience. While our internal review into what went wrong is not yet complete, we’ve been able to ascertain that this was a technical glitch introduced by a Pearson employee — not a problem with server capacity or the student testing system.

Last night, in an effort to optimize performance of the test administration system used in New Jersey, Pearson made some adjustments that were deployed Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. In doing this, Pearson introduced an unexpected problem that restricted access to the administrative system. We are correcting the issue and will work to ensure it does not happen again.

We do apologize and continue to communicate with the New Jersey Department of Education with any and all updates.

Students who were scheduled to take the PARCC in the SOMSD on April 20 were ninth-graders at Columbia High School, seventh-graders at South Orange and Maplewood Middle Schools, fourth-graders at Clinton, South Mountain, Tuscan, and Seth Boyden Elementary Schools, and fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School.

An email from the SOMSD administration stated that "schools are rescheduling testing as appropriate. If you have any questions regarding the testing schedule, please contact the main office at your child’s school."