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Local: Education

Fairfax standardized tests rescheduled after Internet outage

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Local,Virginia,Education,Rachel Baye,Fairfax County

More than 6,600 Fairfax County students had their statewide Standards of Learning standardized tests rescheduled after an Internet outage on Thursday.

The outage affected roughly 42,000 exams, according to Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre. About a third -- 59 -- of the system's 196 schools were affected.

In addition to the students whose exams were rescheduled, another 4,126 students' tests were delayed to later on Thursday, Torre said.

Affected schools
Bryant Alternative Learning Center (High School)
Montrose Alternative Learning Center (Grades 7 and 8)
Bonnie Brae Elementary School
Bush Hill Elementary School
Crossfield Elementary School
Cub Run Elementary School
Eagle View Elementary School
Fort Belvoir Elementary School
Hollin Meadows Elementary School
Kings Park Elementary School
Laurel Ridge Elementary School
Mantua Elementary School
Marshall Road Elementary School
Mosby Woods Elementary School
Newington Forest Elementary School
North Springfield Elementary School
Oak Hill Elementary School
Oak View Elementary School
Olde Creek Elementary School
Orange Hunt Elementary School
Providence Elementary School
Ravenworth Elementary School
Rose Hill Elementary School
Shrevewood Elementary School
Silverbrook Elementary School
Sunrise Valley Elementary School
Terra Centre Elementary School
Timber Lane Elementary School
Waples Mill Elementary School
Waynewood Elementary School
West Springfield Elementary School
Willow Springs Elementary School
Wolftrap Elementary School
Fairfax County Adult High School
Falls Church High School
Herndon High School
Langley High School
Lee High School
Madison High School
McLean High School
Mount Vernon High School
Mountain View High School
South Lakes High School
Stuart High School
Thomas Jefferson High School
West Potomac High School
West Springfield High School
Westfield High School
Carson Middle School
Glasgow Middle School
Hughes Middle School
Irving Middle School
Rocky Run Middle School
South County Middle School
Thoreau Middle School
Twain Middle School
Hayfield Secondary School
Lake Braddock Secondary School
Robinson Secondary School

However, no students will have to retake tests they completed, and no students were stopped in the middle of a test, according to Charles Pyle, spokesman at the Virginia Department of Education, which oversees the SOL exams.

The tests are administered every year between May 13 and June 7. Students in grades three through eight take math and reading; students in grades three, five and eight take science; students in grades three and five through eight take history; and high school students take SOL exams in math, English, science and history.

Though this year was the first year that elementary school tests were taken online, high school and middle school tests were required to be taken online last year and have for the most part been taken online for several years.

This is the first time an Internet outage has disrupted this many Fairfax County tests, Torre said.

Statewide, there have been Internet and power outages during SOL exams in previous years, Pyle said. However, paper test administrations also have their share of problems.

One year, paper answer sheets were shipped to the test vendor to be scored and fell off a conveyor belt in the shipping facility. All of the students whose answer sheets were lost had to retake their exams.

Online testing also eliminates the security risks that other states have had, Pyle said. In the District, for example, teachers were discovered changing students' wrong answers to right answers after testing was over.

"Those sorts of things are eliminated with online testing," Pyle said.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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