Florida's computerized testing runs smoothly so far, state says
Students across Florida began taking their computerized state math and language arts tests this week, with significantly fewer problems than occurred a year ago.
Last spring, when the Florida Standards Assessments and their platform were new, students all over Florida experienced troubles logging in and in some instances were knocked out of their exams, unable to restart on the same day. Districts canceled testing on some days, as the state's testing vendor AIR struggled to work out its kinks.
This year, there have been a handful of isolated glitches. A parent at one Hillsborough County school, for instance, reported that children's computers clicked off mid-testing and then the kids had to resume the test. District spokeswoman Tanya Arja said the situation involved one teacher's log-in to the test timing out, and it did not extend beyond one classroom.
Overall, the state's help desk has had primarily "routine" questions, such as how to reset passwords, and has not received any complaints of any widespread troubles, Department of Education spokeswoman Meghan Collins said.
"Last year was a very rough time," Collins acknowledged. "I am feeling very positive about the work that we did over the past year" to improve the system.
Testing continues for the next few weeks. Collins noted that, even with the improvements, "there's going to be a chance that a district could experience something" less than ideal. But the early indications, she said, are that the major problems have been worked out.