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Major glitches affect thousands of students taking assessment test

(Photo: KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s being called a “fiasco” by some teachers.  The yearly assessment test, called the RISE, had major glitches while thousands of students were trying to take it.  Eventually, the testing crashed.

The problems started happening around midday.  Ben Jameson with the Jordan School District says they have a district wide group chat about the RISE exam, and a lot of teachers started voicing their concerns all at once.

“We began to see an influx of testing coordinators asking similar questions and having similar concerns.  So, we knew there was going to be an issue,” Jameson says.

The issue was only spotted by students who were taking part in the math, science and language arts sections of the test on Thursday.

Jameson says, “They were trying to submit [their answers] and it said it was locked and it wouldn’t open segment two.”

Children who took the exams on different days were not impacted.

When all was said and done, the state determined there were 18,429 students whose tests were affected.  On top of that, another two thousand students couldn’t even start taking the exam.  Darin Nielsen with the Utah Board of Education says the source of the problem happened within the testing company, Questar Assessment.

“Their servers experienced some delays and some latency that caused those to shut down,” Nielsen says.

Over 85 thousand students have taken the RISE exam this year, and more than 64 thousand have had their scores submitted successfully.  Nielsen says Questar has assured them that the information that was submitted on Thursday can be retrieved.

He remembers seeing technical problems five years ago when they started the SAGE test.

“In the very first year, I can tell you from my experience in the field, I had some of those same feelings of, ‘Oh my gosh, what have we gotten ourselves into?  Why isn’t this working better?’” Nielsen says.