Tampa Bay, Florida -- School districts throughout the state had their state testing suspended Tuesday due to problems logging into the Florida comprehensive exams, known as the FCAT. Six local districts were affected: Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Manatee, Pasco and Polk have all stopped testing.
The company that provides the software, Pearson Inc., failed to allow students to begin their math and reading exams. In Pasco, it directly affected 5th graders taking math tests and 7th and 9th graders taking reading tests.
As a result, Governor Rick Scott called for action.
"Our students have studied hard, parents have pushed them. It's unacceptable," said Gov. Scott. "I know the Department of Education is looking into it. They are going to hold the company accountable. It's unacceptable and they are going to do all they can to make sure this wrong is corrected."
The president of the Department of Education sent out this statement:
"Today's computer problems associated with administering the FCAT test-- prove yet again-- that the state is not prepared for such a large undertaking. This should be a *teachable moment* for The Florida Department of Education as they enter a new era of testing next year: Slow down, make sure every aspect of the testing program works, involve teachers and administrators in this massive undertaking and get it right."
Linda Cobbe, the communications director at Pasco County Schools, says she's worried the failure of the FCAT will impact students' results.
"When the results come in we will be looking at the individual students to compare not only how they performed in the past, but how their cohort performed this year," said Cobbe.
In the meantime, Pearson's spokesperson Stacy Skelly issued this statement in response to Tuesday's problem in the Bay area school districts:
Pearson's online testing services for Florida experienced internet traffic disruptions today due to a network issue with our third-party hosting service provider, Savvis. We are working closely with Savvis to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Even with the disruption, which did present difficulties for some school districts, many students are testing normally with almost 200,000 tests delivered today.
Savvis' parent company CenturyLink contacted 10 News and said the problem was on their end and they are working to fix it.
"CenturyLink Technology Solutions experienced an issue with network-related hardware, which caused Pearson to experience a temporary Internet traffic disruption. We apologize for this disruption and have resolved the issue impacting Pearson. We are working with Pearson and our hardware vendors to implement a permanent fix."
Local districts hope to fix the problem by the end of the day, otherwise, some school districts' end-of-the-year exams will be disrupted.