McGraw-Hill Education Apologizes for Online Test-Taking Problems

Looks like McGraw-Hill dodged a sticky situation by getting rid of its education unit.

Late last year, the financial news and data publisher announced the sale of its education unit -- McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) -- to private equity firm Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO  ) in a $2.4 billion deal. The change of control officially took effect only a week ago, and within just a few days, MHE ran into its first big PR problem as an Apollo Global subsidiary.

As described in a company press release issued Wednesday, students taking online proficiency tests in Indiana and Oklahoma "as well as other test takers ... experienced system interruptions, which have led some local districts to temporarily suspend testing." According to news reports, the other test takers stretched across at least two additional states -- Kentucky and Minnesota -- with students in all four states having difficulty logging onto MHE's servers to take their tests, or in some cases being kicked offline in the middle of testing.

In Indiana, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz pronounced herself "greatly disappointed to learn that Indiana schools had their ISTEP+ testing interrupted for the second consecutive day. Like all Hoosier parents, students and teachers, I find these interruptions frustrating and unacceptable."

MHE does not disagree: "While no data has been lost, we understand just how disruptive and frustrating these interruptions have been," said MHE in a statement. "The interruptions are not acceptable to students and educators or to CTB/McGraw-Hill." MHE went on to apologize for the disruptions, and assure students that "we are doing everything possible to ensure that testing will continue successfully through the remainder of the assessment windows."

The good news: An interim fix initiated by the states appears to be making some headway. After scaling back testing by 50% on what should have been day 3, in order to lessen the load on MHE's servers, some students in Indiana, at least, were reportedly able to successfully log on and complete their testing Wednesday.

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