Yesterday school districts across the state had to suspend the state writing test. It was the first day Florida schools attempted to use the Florida Standards Assessments.
This morning, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart sent an email to school superintendents explaining what happened. The problem, she says, was with test firm American Institutes for Research.
Here’s Stewart’s email:
The department worked with AIR throughout the day and into the evening yesterday to better understand the issues that affected online testing in Florida on Monday. AIR has determined that a software issue caused log-in issues, including delays and error messages for a number of districts. AIR reports that of the 69,177 tests that were started yesterday, 67,745 were successfully completed.
AIR and its hosting provider, Rackspace, have worked to ensure that service is restored to the servers that support the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). Last night, AIR conducted an additional load test on the hardware that supports FSA and it showed improved performance after the software changes. AIR will continue to monitor server performance throughout the entire FSA testing window.
Districts may begin or resume testing as soon as they desire, and additional guidance will be provided to assessment coordinators shortly.
“AIR Assessment, the organization delivering the tests for Florida, accepts full responsibility for the difficulty,” the organization said. “We updated student data, which was not immediately available to the testing servers. When students logged onto the test, the servers were forced to reach out to other databases to get the necessary student information.”
So how many students were able to complete the test? Miami-Dade’s chief academic officer put the number in perspective:
State claims that they successfully tested 67,000 students statewide yesterday. That’s about two grade levels’ worth of students @MDCPS .
— Marie Izquierdo (@IzquierdoMarie) March 3, 2015
Many Florida school districts have decided to suspend testing today, including Broward, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco and Volusia counties.
Is your school testing today? Let us know how it’s going in the comments, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.