FCAT crashes, affects 4K Osceola Co. students

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

It's going to be a long weekend for some central Florida families.

Thousands of students in Osceola County will have to wait until Monday to finish their Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests because the internet crashed right in the middle of a test.

At first the district blamed Bright House Networks, but now says the problem was on its end.

District officials said the interruption could have a slight effect on students' scores.

The problems affect the majority of elementary and middle school students who take the FCAT at schools in Osceola County.

FCAT test week is arguably the most stressful time in any student's year.

Four-hundred students in Osceola County got an added jolt of stress when the Internet crashed during their test, freezing screens and kicking out error messages.

Teachers reset the student tests, but then the problem happened again.

"I'm sure it's very frustrating for the students, it's very frustrating for the staff. As soon as we discovered the problem we terminated the test," said Angela Marino, assistant superintendent for information and technology.

Marino said most students probably experienced a failure twice before the test was terminated all together, and said they didn't want students to attempt and reattempt repeatedly.

Director of Information Technology Russell Holmes said the problem came down to a switch on the district's end.

Holmes said filters meant to block out inappropriate websites got overloaded with many students taking the test at once.

"We might have hit the maximum capacity for what those filters can handle," Holmes said.

About 4,000 students will have to wait until Monday to finish their tests.

"That's not good for them," parent Yuesa Colon said.

The district plans to expand its filtering capacity to prevent this from happening again.

The IT department said it has tested the system and there should be no more crashes on Monday.