The province of Ontario’s IT wizards got a failing grade Thursday after a new online system for standardized tests crashed forcing the cancellation of a literacy test for 140,000 students.

CBC News reports the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which runs provincial tests is investigating the cause of the glitch.

It was the first time a digital version of the test was to be used.

According to the Toronto Star the literacy test is usually done in the spring but Thursday’s version was a pilot at 900 secondary schools who volunteered to test the online version to see if it was ready to be rolled out next March.

EQAO director Richard Jones was quoted as saying the failure was “a very big surprise” after months of successful testing that showed it could handle more than 250,000 students logging on. At the time he was interviewed he couldn’t says what  the source of the problem was.

Education minister Mitzie Hunter said the results of the investigation will be made public. “What’s important is they’re going to look into what happened and make sure they’re ready for the spring,” she said, referring to the time when when the next literacy test is scheduled. Students must pass the test to graduate.


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