Miami-Dade Schools Suspending New State Test

Mar 3, 2015

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

Miami-Dade schools are suspending online state testing for eighth through 10th graders after many students were unable to log on to Florida's new writing test Monday.

School districts across the state reported problems with the exam. And the test ran slowly for many who did manage to sign on.

Miami-Dade is suspending online testing for students who have yet to complete the writing test until the state can prove the new online system is running smoothly

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. 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 evaluations. They also don't want the results to determine which third graders are held back for low reading scores.

Monday was the first day of testing season in Florida schools. The state is switching to the new Florida Standards Assessments exam this year, which replaces most of the FCAT.