St. Petersburg, Florida -- FCAT testing was successful Wednesday at Florida schools. On Tuesday, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests were suspended when a computer glitch would not allow students to log on. Six local school districts were impacted and 26 districts total across the state had to suspend testing.
Pearson Inc., the company that provides the software for the FCAT, was able to fix the glitch for Wednesday's testing. The state is locked into a contract with Pearson for five years. Next year, is the last year, the same year the FCAT will also be phased out.
On Tuesday, the Communications Director for the Florida Department of Education stated:
"As of 5 p.m., 26 districts in Florida reported some disruption to FCAT testing today. The level of disruption varied among those districts. In a conversation with Commissioner Stewart this afternoon, Pearson officials said the underlying problem was a national issue with Internet service. Pearson said they were confident that testing could continue tomorrow as they pursued contingency plans. We are discussing options for districts who may need additional testing times. Commissioner Stewart held a conference call with Superintendents this afternoon to update them and we have been in constant contact with districts and Pearson."
Florida Governor Rick Scott said he wants Pearson to pay for their computer glitch.
"The Department of Education is going to hold Pearson accountable and they are talking to Pearson," he said.
Pasco County Schools Director of Communications Linda Cobbe said their school is not ready for 100 percent computer-based testing.
"We don't have the capacity to do that now and we don't anticipate having funding to get the equipment in place to have the capacity next year or probably the next year," she said. "If the legislature could find the technology so we could have it in place so we didn't have to worry about now having enough computers or not having enough bandwidth, then we would feel better about going to all computer-based testing."
Below is an email from the state's Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to state superintendents:
Good Morning Superintendents,
The department has been working with Pearson throughout the night and this morning on the issues that affected online testing in Florida yesterday. Pearson has put into place a mitigation strategy that includes redundancy in access to its production servers. While the original issue that caused interruptions in service through CenturyLink has been corrected and verified as of early this morning, Pearson has engaged the services of another provider to minimize the risk of further interruptions to testing today. This solution has also been tested and verified overnight. Pearson has assured the department that this strategy will resolve the issues related to yesterday's interruptions and the system will resume normal functionality.
Given this, schools may resume testing this morning with the guidance provided to districts late yesterday afternoon. If you have any questions, please contact the office of assessment at 850-245-0513 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can hear Pasco County Superintendent Kurt Browning's statement on FCAT testing being suspended by clicking on the video below: