Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order suspending at least one of the state-mandated exams students have to take, and that’s just the start of Florida’s efforts to dial back its testing requirements amid public discontent.
Florida lawmakers have several bills in the works to scale back the scope of and number of exams students will have to take this year. Some are mandated by the state while others have been created by districts to comply with state policies. Now the Florida Department of Education has released the results of its testing investigation. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has a list of exams she says students, and teachers can do without.
“Next would be to enact legislation to eliminate the PERT assessment requirement in the 11th grade. Still leave it as an option…but not require that," Stewart said, outlining a series of tests that can be tossed.
The commissioner is also recommending doing away with local final exams in subjects where the state mandates end—of-course exams and probably most significantly, stop testing students for the sole purpose of evaluating teachers. That’s a direct response to concerns about districts creating thousands of new exams to comply with teacher evaluation laws.
Governor Rick Scott's executive order stopping the 11th grade English-Language Arts exam was also recommended by DOE.
“The reason for an executive order is so that if we decide that’s the direction we want to go, we would be able to suspend that for the current school year, instead of waiting for the 2015-16 school year. So that would be one of the first recommendations," she said.
Education officials and lawmakers had previously identified that test as redundant. Stewart presented her findings Wednesday during a meeting of a Senate Education Committee.
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