Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Schools Report Testing Problems, Suspend Exams For Some Students

School districts around the state report students had trouble logging in or experienced slow loading time with the Florida's new online writing exam.

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School districts around the state report students had trouble logging in or experienced slow loading time with Florida's new online writing exam.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

School districts across the state said students had trouble logging in to the state’s new writing exam Monday. And the test is running slowly for many who do manage to sign in.

Miami-Dade schools said they’re suspending all online testing for 8th through 10th graders until the state can prove the new system can handle the traffic.

Schools in Hillsborough, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties suspended testing for students who couldn’t log on Monday.

It’s unclear why students are having trouble with the new exam. Florida Department of Education officials said they were investigating.

Students had plenty of other days to take the test, said spokesman Meghan Collins.

“This is a 90-minute test;” Collins said in a statement, “students have a two-week window, plus a makeup window, to complete the test. Commissioner Stewart is looking into any reported issues to determine the cause and will work to immediately resolve it.”

At least 35 districts reported problems with the exam, according to The Orlando Sentinel.Β  Miami-Dade school officials said the problem appeared to be the test vendor, American Institutes for Research, couldn’t handle the number of students attempting to log in to the test.

School superintendents repeatedly said they expected technological problems with the exam. Parents and educators have worried the exam has been rushed into replacing the FCAT.

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Monday’s issues are a symptom of bigger problems with the test.

“You have not field tested this exam in Florida,” Carvalho said. “You have not developed a baseline.

“But you’re willing to run with what you have. Seems like you simply want to get it done rather than getting it right.”

Carvalho is one of many superintendents asking that this year’s test results not be used to calculate public school grades or teacher evaluation. They also don’t want the results to determine which third graders are held back for low reading scores.

Here’s what education writers around the state are reporting:


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