Standardized testing delayed for Lee County 10th graders

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Students across Southwest Florida and around the state are supposed to be taking the Florida Standards Assessment test this week, but technology troubles meant some students couldn’t log on.

Hillsborough County halted tests in 18 middle schools. Some Palm Beach County students in three grades were also unable to log into to take the test. There have also been reports about problems from other districts as well.

Florida this year is switching to a new test known as the Florida Standards Assessment. Most students are taking the test online.

School district officials said it appears an online portal was overwhelmed by the number of students trying to log in.

A spokeswoman for Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said state officials are looking into the cause of the problems.

Students in Lee County don’t start the test until Tuesday. In Collier County, only Barron Collier High School tested Monday and there were no hiccups.

However, in Charlotte County all but four schools reported problems which caused an hour delay.

The president of the Teachers Association of Lee County says this was a situation “waiting to happen.” Mark Castellano says the test should be suspended.

“This should not have been rolled out electronically until the state put the resources in to make the infrastructure adequate.”

Lee County Superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham sent a message to high school principals early Monday evening after a conference call with the Commissioner of Education, directing high school principals to delay 10th grade testing if a school was scheduled to test 10th graders Tuesday.

The Commissioner of Education reports that information will be provided Tuesday morning regarding the issues that occurred on Monday during the first day of the FSA online tests. Districts are expected to continue testing on Tuesday unless the Commissioner directs something differently early Tuesday morning.

The full message released by Dr. Graham is below:

The good news for our District is that we chose to wait until Tuesday, the second day of the testing window to begin. As a result of Monday’s challenges, until we are confident or directed that the on-line testing option is error-free, we are delaying all tenth grade writing tests. The rationale for this decision is the high stakes for students (i.e. graduation requirement) related to the tenth grade assessment.

All schools scheduled to test grades 8 and 9 are to proceed as planned.

Paper-based assessments are in no way impacted by Monday’s online issues. All paper-based testing is to proceed as planned on Tuesday.

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