State officials in seven states reported that online testing was disrupted by breakdowns. The vendor, Questar, said the system was brought down by a “deliberate attack.” 

“One of the nation’s largest online assessment providers, Questar Assessment Inc., experienced a potential cyberattack this week that affected at least seven statewide K-12 assessments across the country — and state officials have more questions than answers as some districts struggle to recover.

“On Tuesday, what officials called a “deliberate attack” affected tests in seven states that Questar is contracted with, including South Dakota, Mississippi, New York, Missouri and Tennessee. Two other states were not as “negatively affected,” said Questar COO Brad Baumgartner, who testified in front of Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday in a special hearing dedicated to the testing woes.

“It appears Questar’s data center may have experienced a deliberate attack this morning based on the way traffic is presenting itself,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in an email announcing the incident Tuesday.”

Every electronic system is vulnerable to hacking. Even the nation’s highest security agency, the National Security Agency, has been hacked and vital secrets stolen.

It is reasonable to assume that ETS, the College Board, ACT, Pearson, and other testing organizations are not as secure as the Pentagon or the NSA. It is reasonable to assume that clever hackers will disrupt state assessment systems in the future, stealing test questions and disrupting testing.