Govt taught lesson in MySchool preparation

Website capacity increased ahead of afternoon traffic surge

The Federal Government has shored up backend capacity for its My Schools website after it crashed under an influx of more than 9 million hits yesterday.

The website was forced intermittently offine after it received some 290,000 hits within a hour of its 1am launch.

It was down and out for many users after it took a massive 2.5 million hits by 10am. The deluge continued as IT support worked to balance the load, with more than 4.5 million hits taken by 2pm.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), which runs the site, said it had increased the capacity to "handle the very high level of interest" which is expected to peak again this evening.

ACARA chair, Barry McGaw, said the operators were caught off guard.

"The site is in excessive demand and while we knew it would create interest we did not anticipate the level of interest shown today," he said in a written statement.

"We would like to thank those seeking information for their patience. It is clear that there are many interested in accessing school performance information."

The controversial website publishes and compares the performance of 10,000 school based on facts such as the number of staff and students, the socio-economic status of the students, school attendance rates and year 12 attainment rates.

The performance of years three, five, seven and nine students in the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests are also available for school comparisons.

Education Minister, Julia Gillard, has been forced to defend the initiative in the face of union concerns the website could result in schools ranked in league tables, leading to low socio-economic schools being stigmatised.

Gillard told ABC NewsRadio the site was designed to take 1.75 million hits a day or 2350 hits a second.

The ARARA would not release details of the capacity upgrade, citing confidentiality and security concerns.

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