Statewide internet outage disrupts Georgia Milestones testing today

Parents are learning today that their kids will have to finish Milestones tests on Monday due to internet outages today.

An internet outage today disrupted Georgia Milestones testing across the state. As a result, some districts including Gwinnett and Clayton had to delay testing and will resume their exams next week.

In an email response to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution tonight, state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said, “PeachNet (state internet provider) went down for a little while this morning. We had 124 districts testing. According to IT for GaDOE, 22 districts remained out as of late this morning. Some delayed testing today. For many, Fridays are typically a make-up day.”

DOE is under intense pressure to get online testing right after serious problems in 2015 and 2016.

Last year, computer glitches froze screens and tests midstream, stressing students and outraging parents. That outrage prompted the Georgia Board of Education to waive the rule requiring scores to be used in grade promotion decisions. No third, fifth or eighth grade students last year were held back because of their scores.

In 2015, DOE won financial concessions from its vendor after an online screen reader was said to have failed repeatedly, causing minor disruptions across the state.

So parents and teachers are wary this year, using social media Friday night to vent their frustrations. “I smell a third year of wasted money and ridiculous anxiety levels only to have a test thrown out,” wrote a teacher on Facebook.

Gwinnett posted this note on its website today:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you know our students are currently taking the Georgia Milestones. Overnight and into today, we, along with other schools throughout the state experienced an interruption in our testing schedule due to an internet disruption in the state’s PeachNet network. As some of our students take this test online, this had an impact on our testing day. Some of our students who were taking the test online were not able to complete the Mathematics section of the test today.

Those students who did not finish will complete the Mathematics section the week of April 24th. I wanted to make you aware of this schedule change and thank you for your support of our students and school.

Regards,
Ms. Debbie Trevino, Georgia Milestones Testing Coordinator

And Clayton County sent out this note to parents:

Reader Comments 0

39 comments
1776 Nation
1776 Nation

Yes, the advantages of online testing aren't immune to the quirks of present day technology.

Remember the never-ending snafus with online Obamacare registration?


redweather
redweather

This would be hilarious . . . if it was a SNL skit.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

Educators and bureaucrats confuse the techical ability to do online testing with the need and advisability of it.

billship
billship

Last year, teachers found that when the test scores came back and the schools got their CCRPI grades, no one seemed to remember - other than the teachers - that there were technology glitches adversely affecting the students during testing.  

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

You guys should look into how many taxpayer dollars have gone into all this technology in your county. The first phase in Fulton was $20 million. I wonder how many teachers that could have provided so that our children could engage in actual learning with the one thing that we KNOW makes a huge difference in learning -lower class sizes. Instead, they are pushing "personalized learning" which translates into much larger class sizes, limiting time that students have with their teacher, grabbing a ton of identifiable data on our kids, and making them do most of their school work on tablets. When we know that children have up to a 70% lower retention rate when reading on a device. And as a result, their testing scores are significantly lower on a device than they would be on pencil and paper. And then there are the completely predictable infrastructure snafus and outages, which renders the test even less valid and reliable. The money is huge and the damage to our kids is even worse.

Michelle Watson
Michelle Watson

They should do away with these tests, anyway. I didn't like them 25 years ago as a high school senior and I don't like them now.

Jeffrey Harris
Jeffrey Harris

I would love to know the percentage of Georgia state lawmakers who's children and grandchildren are in private schools...ijs

Rachel Rivera Smith
Rachel Rivera Smith

I think it is ridiculous to require 3rd graders to type out paragraphs/ answers when they have never been taught to type. Add frustration to the anxiety. Seems like a perfect testing scenario (not). Doesn't make sense to me.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

How many chances to "get it right?"High stakes should be for the state, not the kids!


The computer setup for little kids is not developmentally appropriate!  When will the state actually listen to experienced teachers and developmental professionals?

Amy Christiansen
Amy Christiansen

I understand that taking this test on a computer should help eliminate the cheating factor that happened years back, however computer administration is not the best option for so many kids. They need to be writing out math problems etc to have their best performance, not sitting in front of a screen. Especially when the screen fails them and elongates an already too long testing time. When is someone going to talk about the fact that our children stop learning in school at the end of March if you're in a testing grade? No more curriculum once milestones starts yet there are five weeks of school remaining. What a joke.

Elisa Maria Chiara
Elisa Maria Chiara

Classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left one is doing. SMDH.

Jessica Whitehead
Jessica Whitehead

Opting out only hurts the teachers, administrators, school and district as a whole. The state will only take over your school after a while if you opt out but ya know.....you do you....

Richard Cionci
Richard Cionci

No, you need to vote out of office the idiots who allow these tests, "opting out" is stupid and pointless and no one cares if your special snowflake doesn't take the test.

Amy Christiansen
Amy Christiansen

Opting out is not about snowflakes. It's about a test that shouldn't be given as it is developmentally inappropriate, is tied to teacher's performance evaluations erroneously and is just a money maker for the developer that now can sell remediation materials. The state will not be taking over schools because of milestones refusals just as kids will not be retained in 5th or 8th grade bc of refusal.

Alyce Wetter-Paul
Alyce Wetter-Paul

Why is it that with the awful fiasco that happened years ago with cheating on the state tests, do they allow counties to take these tests at different times? Everyone should be taking it at the same time.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

Can you imagine how *that* would go with the obviously unstable infrastructure?

Blynne Roberts
Blynne Roberts

I thought all counties in the state were taking the test during the same window...

Sara Haynie
Sara Haynie

Individual counties can choose when to administer the test during the open window.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

Jessica, getting this changed is the goal. It's WHY we refuse. The lack of my child's score does not hurt the teacher. A low score surely would. My son is a TAG student and generally tests very well. But the milestones tests below where he is learning. That fact wouldn't help his teachers at all since he is testing on year old material. Refusing is the tool that parents have to fight back. If we just go along with the plan, there's nothing to motivate anybody to change this.

Jessica Whitehead
Jessica Whitehead

Uh but the teachers and administrators still have to!!! Our salaries and jobs depend on their scores!! Get that changed and we will all shut up, until then please have your child test.

Amy Christiansen
Amy Christiansen

Teachers should be organizing to get that tie in removed. Until then, parents refusing the test for the kids is the only visible disturbance the county sees and therefore the only thing trying to also help teachers in this regard.

Amy Christiansen
Amy Christiansen

First, decide if you think the milestones are appropriate, necessary and if they should be tied to your performance eval. If you say no to any of that, find other teachers that feel the same way. Go as a united group to your administration and ask them the same questions. If you all agree that there's a better way, ask your administrators to do the same thing you did with their peers. The administrators can then go as a group to the superintendent. Nothing changes if no one speaks up. If enough parents, teachers, and administrators cry foul, adjustments will be made. Nothing has to be set in stone or remain in stone. Education is and should always be an evolving field in some aspects. Teachers have lost the right to teach it seems. You guys know better than anyone not in the classroom what's right for the kids, how to make them successful at their individual level. Your voice should be the voice that's heard first. But I think teachers have forgotten that or think no one believes it anymore. Parents will support you. The school takeover bill being defeated shows the residents of Georgia believe in the individual schools more than they believe in the state. You have power as teachers. Believe that and use it.

Dozi Whit
Dozi Whit

Susan did you know that your refusal hurts your school? If a child is enrolled during the test and does not test that deducts points from your schools CCRPI score. Which in turn hurts your school and his teachers.

Nicole Madeline Powell
Nicole Madeline Powell

These tests hurt our teachers. If children test poorly, the teachers are punished. These tests cause a lot of anxiety on the kids. Did you know the schools lie to the kids saying if they don't pass they will be retained? But that's not true because all of the kids who have not done so well were passed to the next grade. And the ones who didn't test at all weren't retained ether. Why put our kids through the stress and pain of unnecessary tests that do nothing for our kids or teachers

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

I am well aware of the CCRPI. Are you aware of how incredibly flawed that number is? Do you know that if your child is absent more than 5 times in a year, it hurts the score? (And what effect is that fact having on schools pressuring kids and parents into being afraid to keep kids home?) Do you know that the number of clicks the teachers does into the SLDS impacts the CCRPI? And that as a result, many principals have the teachers click click clicking away during staff meetings? What does that number say about the school? Absolutely nothing! Do you know that schools get CCRPI points for entering your child's data into Fitnessgrams, a third party vendor? And that your child's name goes with his personal data? Yes, I know about CCRPI. It isn't worth considering because it's so flawed. I was part of one of the working groups that the GADOE held. Until they fix that and make it measure something worthwhile and telling, I am not going to worry about it. And until they prove that the Milestones is a valid, reliable, and worthwhile exam, my child will not take it. Right now, the GADOE has not met the legal requirement for a validity study. In my opinion, it's just nuts to comply with this because of the ridiculous CCRPI.

Katrina Bishop
Katrina Bishop

I smell a THIRD year of wasted money and ridiculous anxiety levels only to have a test thrown out....

Addie Watkins
Addie Watkins

They didn't throw it out last year. They'll keep invalid scores simply because they've paid for them.

Katrina Bishop
Katrina Bishop

They didn't use the data for promotion/retention or Teacher/Admin Evals . They only used it for CCRPI scores