Glitches continue to haunt controversial FSA exam

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – A number of glitches with state exams still remain as testing dates approach, Lee County School District information technology experts said Thursday.

The Lee County School District issued a mock version of the Florida Standards Assessment, a state exam that is aligned with Common Core standards. The district found the same issues persisted as when the test in was first introduced in 2015.

Testing was postponed last year when students couldn’t log in to take the computerized test. There were also issues with computers crashing and delays, said Dwayne Alton, the IT director of Lee County schools.

“They had issues with slow response times in some cases. They had issues with the tests getting started,” Alton said.

Those problems have not been fixed, according to the school districts IT department.

With the initial FSA testing two weeks out, principals said they are concerned that test will interrupt students’ focus and impact scores.

“You don’t want slow response time because you don’t want frustration on the part of the student where they can’t complete an activity, causing reduced performance on the test.”

Colonial Elementary School Principal Marsha Bur said any major blips would be unfair to the children taking the exam.

“It’s scary any time. You have something new that you have to prepare children for or that children have to take. It can be a little bit scary because they’re not sure what to expect,” she said.

The school district said it is reaching out to the test company, the American Institute for Research, about the problems.

The test company has been the recipient of criticism that has continued into this school year,

“Most of these providers have not tested hundreds of thousands of people at one time. And they did realize that they had some issues and they needed to scale down.”

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