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An error in a computer grading system for the promotion tests given to Louisiana students in grades 2 to 4 accidentally failed about l,800 students who had passed the tests, according to Joe Williams, director of accountability for the Louisiana Department of Education.

The department caught the mistake before the test results were sent to the children's parents and some school districts. It sent out revised test scores on May l7 and l8.

The promotion tests, which are given in the spring of each year, assess children's performance in the areas of language arts and mathematics. They are the "principal criterion for promotion" to the next grade, Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams, who blames the error on a "lack of communication" between the department and the computer vendor, National Computer Systems of Iowa City, said it was the first time in the eight years that Louisiana has given the tests that such a mistake has occurred.--lo

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