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Computer-based FCAT exams resume at Pasco schools


— Computer-based FCAT exams appeared to be functioning again in Pasco County Wednesday morning, a day after testing had to be suspended in several school districts because of problems with servers operated by Pearson Inc., the company that administers FCAT in Florida.

“We seem to be OK,” said Linda Cobbe, spokeswoman for the Pasco County school district.

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart sent an email to districts this morning saying the Florida Department of Education worked with Pearson through the night to fix the glitch, and Pearson had added redundancies to the system in an effort to stave problems.

Pasco was among several districts that experienced problems with computer-based FCAT exams Tuesday. Students were unable to sign into the system and had to resume normal classroom activities as it became clear there would not be a quick resolution.

Hillsborough and Pinellas were unaffected.

FCAT used to be administered solely with pencil and papers, but the state began moving to a computer-based exam three years ago, with different subjects or grade levels phased in each year.

This week’s problems led the Pasco school district and the Florida Education Association, among others, to question whether Florida was moving too fast with computer exams.

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