top story

Glitches with state-mandated student testing almost fixed

  • 0

SARASOTA Fla. -- It was a rough start for some Suncoast students taking their state-required exams this week.  The first round of the Florida Standards Assessment test was plagued with technical glitches.

"We actually got kicked off for a couple of minutes, but we actually were able to log back on," says student Rebecca Erdman, describing her experience with the Florida Standard Assessment test. 

The state mandated test replaces the FCAT, and this is the first year it's being administered. Several sections of the new test are taken online, and that is one of the reasons the transition has been marred by glitches.

"It's (the test) different with them on computers," Erdman says. "... the Wi-Fi signal, if its not strong enough, we can get kicked off. But we were able to log back on pretty quickly and get back to our test."

According to the Sarasota County School District, of the 8,500 students testing, just about 230 students encountered problems, including not being able to log into the system or being kicked out.  Many of those issues are being attributed to the high volume of people logging into the state RAM test system.

"There was more of an impact on the system for a lot of students and administrators logging on at the same time for this first FSA writing test," said Scott Ferguson with the Sarasota Schools.

The district says, as of Wednesday only a handful of students were still having issues.

"Students nowadays are used to computer glitches that happen, and in this case in Sarasota County we've been able to address those issues and get the students hooked up, so they can take those online tests and they've been successful, and we intend to persevere with that," added Ferguson.

Regardless of the improvements, the FSA test is being met with mixed feelings by students and parents.

"I didn't think it was that necessary, because we already have writing, biology, we have algebra," said student Santiago Poacencia. "I just think they're going too far with the testing at this point."

"I think it's better than the FCAT, because it's easier for most people probably," another student Lindsay Ruggero.

"I think the teachers should be spending more time teaching the kids the correct curriculum and not teaching them how to take test or pass test, and it just seem a little frustrating for the students and parents that they're having to take these test," said parent William Donaldson.

Sarasota School District says, as of Wednesday, only 13 have not been able to start or complete their test. The Manatee County School District says their students are not experiencing any issues.