Computer Tests a Problem?

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Nearly 60 percent of people applying for regular drivers licenses have failed the general knowledge test since the state switched to a computerized testing system in December. Officials say only 20 percent failed before.

The passing rate for commercial license applicants declined slightly, from 60 to 54 percent. All commercial license tests are now given through computers.

Mississippi was one of 15 states last year to receive automated testing services from Openshaw Media Groups Incorporated, based in Birmingham, Ala.

The touch screen technology eliminates cheating because the questions on the Mississippi driver license general knowledge test are randomly chosen from a database of more than 600 questions.

This process prevents any two applicants from receiving the same test.

Until recently, Mississippi used three versions of the written test with 20 questions each.