Florida school district officials are writing thousands of new exams to administer to students this school year. The effort to create end-of-course tests in subjects not evaluated at the state level, is causing more parents, and local education officials to call for a time out on testing.
The Palm Beach school district is getting 400 new exams. The Broward County School district is developing 800. Leon County School officials estimate they’ll writing more than 1,100 end-of-course tests. And the sheer number of tests in all grades, have overwhelmed groups like the Panhandle Area Education consortium, which is helping some rural school districts craft exams.
“It is a daunting effort and I don’t know if anyone can honestly say where they’re going to be at the end of the path here," says Kay Brewton, a reading consultant with the consortium. "We’re all hoping and that’s our end goal. We’re working diligently to make sure we have everything in place.”
The final exams students are taking this year are in all subjects including hard-to-measure areas like music and art. They were mandated by the state’s 2011 teacher merit pay law, which requires teacher’s evaluations to be partly based on student test scores.