Advertisement
  1. Education

Florida's testing failures: let us count the ways

The debut of new standardized computer testing in Florida has proved anything but standard for the state's eighth, ninth and tenth graders, including these ninth graders at Land O'Lakes High School. [Pasco County School District]
Published May 20, 2015

This week brought news of more trouble with Florida's school testing system. It's been a familiar refrain this spring: Students across the state sit down to take a computerized test mandated by law, and they can't log on. Or they can, but then they get logged off. Or something else goes wrong and the tests are tossed. Most of the issues have been blamed on the state's testing vendor or cyber attacks, adding fuel to critics who say the state rushed into a new system. And all the technical problems come amid philosophical objections to the testing, which parents and local school district leaders say put undue stress on students and assess little more than their ability to take a test.

Here follows a list of highlights — or, more to the point, low lights — of Florida's testing flops.

March 2: The first big fail. Thousands of eighth-, ninth- and tenth-graders attempting to log in at the same time for writing exams appeared to overload the system.

March 3: The fixes didn't help much.

April 13: Testing went smoothly for a change. Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco officials said their schools had experienced only small, localized interruptions, such as an unexpected fire alarm, as children took their FSA math and language arts tests.

April 21: The second big fail. Cue the we-told-you-sos.

May 13: And the third. Some 600,000 students ready to show their chops in civics, biology and history were stymied.

Monday: By contrast, 800 students having their math tests invalidated seems minor. The culprit this time was incorrect calculators being distributed by test proctors.

For all the latest on testing, plus other local and state education news, follow our Gradebook blog.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle pieces together a skull that might have been Amelia Earhart's. SANDRA C. ROA  |  University of South Florida
    DNA from a skull found in 1940 could prove whether the famous aviator has been found.
  2. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  3. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  4. Vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  6. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  7. Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, 55, is now in his 11th year leading the fourth largest school district in the nation. Miami Herald
    The charismatic leader of the nation’s fourth-largest school district has a complicated legacy. He almost took over the Pinellas County School District in 2008.
  8. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. The Pinellas School Board recognized James Krull as the district's bus Driver of the Year at its meeting Tuesday. From left are board members Bill Dudley, Eileen Long, Carol Cook, Rene Flowers, Krull, and board members Nicole Carr, Joanne Lentino and Lisa Cane. Pinellas County Schools
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  10. In this image from a telecast by The Florida Channel, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks to a Gainesville crowd that came to discuss revisions to the state's education standards this past week. “We’re going to end up with the world’s best standards,” Corcoran said. The Florida Channel
    The effort, ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, aims to transform the way students learn in public schools. A “listening session” is set for Tampa’s Jefferson High.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement