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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FAIR testing again causing headaches for districts

15

September

When Florida schools debuted FAIR testing last fall, teachers quickly pointed out that the computerized reading exam didn't work. The server kept quitting, there wasn't enough bandwidth, kids were losing results -- the works.

State officials acknowledged the problems and said they had them fixed. But this year, it looks like similar issues have cropped up again.

Chancellor Frances Haithcock sent a memo to superintendents on Tuesday reminding them that peak usage time is between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and asking them to please stick to the staggered schedule to make the testing run smoothly.

And this is for a relatively short test that can be given at any time during a window of time. Can you just wait until they put the FCAT online?

Read on for the chancellor's full memo.

Dear Superintendents:

On Monday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 14 in some districts we experienced a slowdown and data base server errors with the administration of FAIR between 9:00am and 10:30am. Please be reminded that 9:30am to 11:30am is when peak usage is noted in FAIR. The system can accommodate the teacher and student use if administration is evenly distributed throughout the day and only if districts adhere to the staggered schedule. If logistically possible, assess outside of the peak usage time to ensure smooth test administration for teachers and students. The contractor has identified a process to improve the efficiency of the system but that process will not be in place until Monday, September 20 and is based upon the even distribution of assessments throughout the day. Also, please remember that Kindergarten teachers can assess on a daily basis, but all other grades must follow the staggered schedule provided.

As a reminder, testing is scheduled on a staggered basis according to the following:

Odd Numbered Districts
Week of September 13: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Week of September 20: Tuesday, Thursday
Week of September 27: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Week of October 4: Tuesday, Thursday
Week of October 11: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Week of October 18: Tuesday

Even Numbered Districts
Week of September 13: Tuesday, Thursday
Week of September 20: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Week of September 27: Tuesday, Thursday
Week of October 4: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Week of October 11: Tuesday, Thursday
Week of October 18: Monday

Thank you for your support and feedback today. I deeply apologize for the difficulty that teachers and students encountered this morning.

Sincerely,

Frances Haithcock

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 4:44pm]

    

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