School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems

Mar 3, 2015

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at a February press conference. He's suspending testing in Miami-Dade schools.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For the second day in a row, some Florida school districts decided to suspend required testing because of computer problems.

The Florida Department of Education told school leaders this morning that test provider American Institutes for Research had found and corrected the problems that shut down testing Monday. The agency wrote the testing system was showing “improved” performance.

But problems persisted Tuesday when district attempted to administer the exam. The Tampa Bay Times reports Tampa-area schools had to suspend some testing for a second day.

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he won’t resume testing until the state can prove everything is working. Palm Beach school also will not test students on Wednesday.

“Improving the system alone isn’t sufficient for me, for my teachers, or my students," Carvalho said at a morning press conference. "I respect them too much. Either they have it right, or they don’t. And improvement of something that broke down is not sufficient.”

He wants the state to conduct a real load test to make sure enough bandwidth is available. He also wants the state to reconsider using this year's results to determine school grades, teacher evaluations and other more.

About 67,000 students were able to complete the writing test statewide Monday, the state agency said. Miami-Dade planned to test at least 84,000 students Monday.

The Florida Department of Education said an additional 85,000 students took the test statewide on Tuesday. Overall, 23 percent of students scheduled to take the exam have completed the writing test.

The district doesn’t know how many students were able to finish the exam because they have to access the AIR test platform to get that information. Miami-Dade officials said test administrators weren't able to log into the site Monday -- even before students attempted to do so.

Another concern? Some students were able to log on and see the writing test. Carvalho says those students may have an unfair advantage.

It’s up to the state agency to decide if test results are compromised.

"This is the second day in a row that the state begins assessment only to have it implode," Carvalho said. "The question that is unanswered is how do you treat the results of those students?"