Despite Assurances, FSA Failures Erupt in Dade, Duval and Pasco Counties

From the Florida Times Union:

Duval Public Schools called off testing again today, the fourth day that tens of thousands of students across Florida were supposed to be writing essays for the state’s new online annual exams.

This is the second time this week testing has been called off in Duval schools and it is unclear when testing will resume.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said this morning that when Duval added middle-schoolers to the high school students taking the test today, they and other students around the state apparently overloaded the system.

“Unfortunately, as I expected, with the larger districts joining the testing process this morning, along with middle schools, the system imploded,” he said.

“Students across the district saw white, blank screens when trying to log on. Districts throughout the state are reporting the same problem. I have directed all schools to cease testing.”

From CBS Miami:

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another day of technical glitches as some students gave Florida’s new standardized test another shot Thursday morning.

“Massive, catastrophic fail,” that’s the way Miami-Dade County’s School’s Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is describing the restart of computerized retesting Thursday.

Students in Miami-Dade and other major counties arrived at school to resume new standardized testing Thursday.

“I really don’t have a positive opinion for standardized tests,” said Elizabeth Acosta, a 9th grader at Coral Reef High School.



Students taking the Florida Standards Assessment test in Pasco County have experienced issues logging into the system. Some have completed the tests, but there is a delay when trying to submit the answers.

“Just imagine if it was you and you were sitting there and you’re an eighth grader and you have to write an essay. And all of a sudden it’s not there anymore. And when you log back on, it’s gone for good,” said Linda Cobbe, Pasco County School District.

Teachers say it is causing a lot of anxiety for them and their students. Florida state lawmakers are now considering putting a limit on how much time students spend taking standardized tests.

How come the FLDOE is saying that things are going just fine?

“We believe the log-in issue, which was initially causing districts to experience technical difficulties, has been resolved,” said Meghan Collins, a Florida Department of Education spokeswoman.

“There were reports early this morning of districts experiencing technical difficulties, but we believe that was also cleared up quickly as districts that continued testing have not reported widespread issues since approximately 8:30 a.m. By the end of the day, we should once again have an update as to the number of tests completed statewide today.”

That’s clearly just not the case. Massive failures being registered in some of the state’s largest districts and this tidbit from the Times-Union story may reveal why skeptical superintendents are compelled to get underway:

Dade Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said that after Education Commissioner Pam Stewart announced Wednesday, that she “feels with 100 percent certainty that everything is working as it should,” school districts were compelled by state law to resume testing in order to get all students tested within the two-week testing window.

What? You mean all Stewart had to do was say everything is just peachy – even if they’re not – and everybody has to give the tests? And that Stewart just has to continue to say delays “did not affect the ability for individuals to answer, and it did not affect the quality of the assessment.” And that “we are certain that the content of the test is absolutely psychometrically valid and reliable” just makes it so?

Carvalho has probably had enough. Here was his Tweet this morning after he knew the whole thing was falling apart again:

This year’s administration of clearly shows that this is more about gathering data on kids than about kids themselves.










About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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