A statewide internet outage today disrupted the Georgia Milestones exams underway in 124 districts. Some could not finish testing so students will resume their exams Monday. (AJC File Photo)

Statewide internet outage disrupts, delays Georgia Milestones tests

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 sent parents a note explaining the outage will push testing to Monday. The district told parents, “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.”

Clayton Superintendent Luvenia Jackson also sent a letter to parents, stating, “We were unable to access the internet to complete online Georgia Milestones testing…Due to this impact, we will administer the 5th and 8th Grades Georgia Milestones Social Studies tests on Monday.”

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