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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FAIR test causing bandwidth headaches



Last week I told you about the new state reading assessment called Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, or FAIR. The pieces focused on the move toward testing to inform teaching.


Your comments on my story and blog post had a different perspective. Mostly, they blasted away at my failure to talk to enough teachers to realize that it has been a nightmare to implement. Things like, "FAIR doesn't even work!" And, "a fiasco-I brought my 140 students to the computer lab on Tues and Weds to take the test. 24 students logged on 1st hr - it crashed/no one finished the test."

Turns out these complaints were neither few nor far between.

The Florida Department of Education got so many of them that K-12 chancellor Frances Haithcock sent a memo out Friday informing superintendents that the state is making adjustments to the system based on all the negative feedback:

"As with any new computer-based system, there have been technological challenges with the initial statewide roll-out. Due to a very high volume of students assessed this week, some schools have experienced technical difficulties. We are working at the state level to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth available to you as you assess your students. The Progress Monitoring and Reporting Network (PMRN) staff has been busy making adjustments and tuning the applications as the network traffic has increased with the statewide release. We have identified both short-term and long-term solutions and will have these solutions in place as soon as possible next week."

One reader pointedly asked in a comment why I was so one-sided in ignoring these problems. The short answer is this -- so few students had taken the FAIR, it seemed pointless at the time to talk to teachers who had yet to use it. Turns out that was the wrong thought. To which I say, thank goodness for you readers and your comments.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:35am]


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