Schools are scrambling to ensure their facilities are equipped for impending online testing

online-testingMinnesota’s $38 million contract with Pearson for online proficiency testing is just a few months old, but it already has technology staff in many schools scrambling to ensure their systems are compatible.

During recent practice testing, school officials across the state found the online portal that Pearson uses to administer tests to be outdated. Many were shocked when Pearson suggested schools run computers online in what they consider an “unsecure” mode.

State education leaders say they are working with Pearson to solve any problems ahead of spring testing season.

State law requires third- through 10th-graders to take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, in English, math and science online beginning in the spring of 2015.

Student scores on those tests are a big part of how public schools are graded under the state’s Multiple Measurement Rating.

Pearson is one of the U.S.’s largest testing contractors and will be administering online proficiency tests nationwide as other states begin to implement the controversial Common Core curriculum.

(Next page: How school leaders hope to meet online testing challenges)