Within minutes of the story breaking that Florida’s FSA tests had been hacked, State Impact reporter John O’Connor pointed out that Kansas suffered a similar fate last year. The story sounds strangely similar to Florida’s. Elle Moxley writes for KCUR radio:
“We had two good days of testing, and we got hit by something called a ‘distributive denial of service’ – a DDOS,” says (Mariane Perie, director of the Center for Education Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas).”That’s an outside force, a person, a program that starts throwing as much data as possible at our servers with the goal of shutting them down.”
And the center’s servers were attacked twice. Between the early glitches and the online attacks, Perie says about a month’s worth of testing data had to be thrown out.
Kansas threw out data from math and reading tests. Perie says “we just didn’t have faith that the data were going to give an accurate picture of where the students in Kansas are in relation to the new cognitive standards.”
Are the Florida Department of Education and AIR in denial? Reports Tia Mitchell with Denise Smith Ramos in the Florida Times Union:
American Institutes for Research said the denial of service, or DoS, cyber-attack did not compromise any student data and won’t affect students’ scores. The company also took responsibility for the technical glitches on Monday and Tuesday and worked to address Florida’s concerns. Despite those issues, more than 60 percent of eighth, ninth and 10th graders registered to take the test did so in the first week of a two-week window.
All this is now placed on top of the large, but unknown number of students who either lost their work or got it back the next day. It requires willing suspension of disbelief to accept their assertion that last week’s tests were not compromised. Fair Tests Bob Schaeffer suggested today that its difficult to trust either AIR or the FLDOE to investigate themselves. They both are far too invested in the outcome.