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Tennessee education officials say the company handling the online portion of the TNReady test “may have experienced a deliberate attack this morning.”
It comes as more districts face problems with taking the online test, including in Williamson County, Shelby County and Knox County schools. Knox, Williamson and Wilson school districts have canceled online testing for the day.
“We have shut down testing for today (in high schools),” said Carol Birdsong, Williamson County Schools spokeswoman. “We did communicate with families that we were having difficulties again.”
Knox County Schools spokeswoman Carly Harrington said the district will try again tomorrow.
“But we will also wait until we get additional information from the state to ensure the situation is resolved,” she said.
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High school and some middle school students are taking the online test this year. Elementary school students are taking the pencil and paper version of the test — they are unaffected by the issues.
The “attack” comes on the second day of spring testing this year. On Monday, Tennessee high school students experienced trouble logging into the online system, but the state’s testing vendor Questar Assessment quickly fixed the issue.
Here is a statement from Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to school directors:
“It appears Questar’s data center may have experienced a deliberate attack this morning based on the way traffic is presenting itself. They are currently resetting the system. However, the attacker may take these same steps again, and Questar is actively working on further reinforcements, including notifying authorities.
“To our knowledge, no student data has been compromised.
“If you are testing, please continue. When a student is finished, please pause the test and note which student has used which machine, as students’ tests are stored on that specific device. Again, the software is designed to save students’ work, so if their testing session is disrupted, they can resume and submit their answers later. We will notify you when the system is back up, and the students can return to that device and submit.
“New students will likely not be able to log-in this morning, but we anticipate they will be able to do so this afternoon. We will be in touch as soon as possible with an update.”
Reach Jason Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.
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