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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Problems, problems everywhere with Pearson's testing system

UPDATE: The system is now fully operational. It is reported that results were stored locally during the outage and were not lost.

As if just taking a high-stakes test isn't nerve-wracking enough.

Students taking Florida's new computerized algebra end-of-course exam are running into problems submitting their finished tests. 

Pearson, the testing company behind the test, had server problems early this morning affecting the entire state of Florida.

Here's the message sent out by the state Department of Education just before 10 a.m.:

"As you may already be aware, PearsonAccess went down at 9:25 this morning and is still not responding. We wanted to let each of you know that we know about this issue and Pearson is working to correct it as soon as possible. In the meantime, students who are currently testing may continue, but may encounter errors when submitting if the site is still down. We recommend that students do not attempt to log in to new tests until the site is working."

Polk officials have confirmed that the outage is nationwide. They warned school staffers not to mark student exams complete when the site comes back up, and instead to await further instructions. The webite to track Pearson's progress is here.

Pearson, you will recall, is the same company that failed to deliver FCAT results on time last year, prompting a multimillion-dollar fine from the state. Several superintendents questioned the validity of the results that ultimately arrived, but Florida Department of Education officials contended that the scores were accurate.

No word yet on what this latest problem will mean for the company, which promised glitch-free testing this year, and its contract.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 1:58pm]

    

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