standardized testing

There’s only one day left for lawmakers to decide what the state of testing will be in Florida’s public schools. It's now up to the House to decide what to do with testing and recess.

Florida lawmakers are preparing to wrap several education policy issues into a single deal—what’s often called a “train” bill in legislative parlance. The massive proposal represents an emerging compromise on everything from school testing to recess.

Sen. Bill Montford,D-Tallahassee, is flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and local school district officials as he unveils a testing overhaul bill (3/8/17).
The Florida Channel

Tallahassee Democrat Bill Montford is out with a plan to revamp the state’s testing system. A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Senate and House flanked Montford Wednesday in the Capitol as he unveiled his plan.

MGN Online

Leon County’s school board is pushing back against the state’s pre-testing program.  Board members say students are losing valuable classroom time so that the state can test its standardized exam system.

A Florida Senate education committee seems open to big changes in the state’s testing and accountability scheme. After years of ramping up the testing infrastructure,  lawmakers are questioning whether they’ve gone too far.

Teachers Call Foul On State Education Policy

Jan 14, 2016
Kate Payne/ WFSU

With lawmakers in town for Session, many groups pick up the mic to air their grievances. The cries of teachers filled the Capitol Courtyard Thursday.

Among Governor Rick Scott’s list of vetoed projects is $3 million that had been earmarked for a review of school technology needs.

Leon School Board member Alva Swafford Striplin
Alva Swafford Striplin / LinkedIn

Leon School Board members say the Florida Department of Education is downplaying the extent and impact of system outages that affected this year’s Spring exams. And they say they want to be certain the system failures that plagued the rollout of the new computer-based Florida Standards Assessment are fixed.

Leon County Schools logo
Leon County Schools

Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says school districts can resume scheduled tests. The department is blaming testing administrator the American Institutes for Research, for outages that stopped testing Monday.

Florida students have dealt with an avalanche of problems with this year’s set of standardized tests, which were so bad that legislators have been pushing a proposal to suspend testing temporarily. But Florida Democrats and activists don’t think the measure heading to Gov. Rick Scott goes far enough.

The Florida Senate is preparing to vote on a plan to scale back standardized testing in public schools.  Significant differences between the House and Senate—could mean a lengthy negotiating process on education to come up with a plan to address public concerns.

The gap between the Florida House and Senate’s testing proposals just got bigger. And lawmakers continue weighing changes to the state’s charter school and class size laws.

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart talks testing, glitches before a Senate Education Committee.
The Florida Channel / The Florida Channel

The House has unanimously approved a plan to scale back the number and importance of tests in public schools. The move comes after parent groups threatened to opt their kids out of taking exams, and teachers and schools complained they weren’t ready for the volume of exams that rolled out this year.

Capital Report: 03-05-2015

Mar 5, 2015

Three days after the start of the session, the House signed off on a massive plan to rewrite state water policy, setting the stage for weeks of negotiations with the Senate. As Jim Ash reports, the legislation focuses on cleaning up Florida springs.

With the legislative session under way, the Republican majority’s plans are beginning to take shape—even if there is some squabbling behind the scenes.  Nick Evans reports minority leadership got in on the action Thursday stressing the need for better water and anti-discrimination legislation.

Florida Standards Assessment

Students could see an immediate change in the number of tests they take under plans moving fast in the legislature. The move is a response to widespread criticism of the state’s new standardized testing infrastructure, and comes as districts continue reporting problems with the new exams.

Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons
Leon County Schools

Update 8:48 a.m.: Leon Schools will not go forward with the online portion of the state writing exam. Districts continue reporting problems and Superintendent Jackie Pons says until the problems are fully resolved, the district will continue to suspend the Florida Standards Assessment Writing Test for 8th, 9th and 10th graders. Those in lower grades who take the paper-based version of the test will continue to be evaluated.

  Update 3/3/15 9:50 a.m.:   The Florida Department of Education says it's testing administrator AIR has fixed most of the problems that caused statewide outages as students tried to take online writing exams.

Teachers are overwhelmed, parents are up in arms and Governor Rick Scott’s executive order suspending a high school exam doesn’t do much.

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.

Foundation for Florida's Future

The Florida legislature is poised to make sweeping changes to the state’s standardized testing system and to the way teachers are evaluated. The Foundation which backed the system currently in place, says it’s pleased to see lawmakers giving the system a second look.

The Florida Department of Education says students can’t opt-out of taking state-mandated exams. The Department sent a letter to key education lawmakers, reiterating that there is no opt-out provision in state law.

Florida Senate

Florida lawmakers say they’re serious about addressing what’s become a testing crisis in the state’s public schools. In addition to testing, they’re also planning to tackle a tech gap. Senator John Legg Chairs the chamber's K-12 Education Committee.

Lutz Republican Senator John Legg, knows education.

“We have converging lines of opportunity here with teacher evaluations, technology, testing and school grades—all coming to a head in 2015-2016," he says, summing up the current state of Florida's school accountability system.

It’s now the Florida legislature’s turn to start weighing in on the state of testing in public schools.

Former Senate President and education appropriations committee chairman Don Gaetz wants to know how much the state spends on standardized testing. That’s a question which doesn’t have an easy answer, as captured in this exchange between Gaetz and the Department of Education’s Vince Burgess:

Gaetz: “You’re telling me the total cost of all assessments and tests required by the state is $90 million? That’s the all in cost?

The Florida Department of Education has announced plans to review the state’s standardized testing.  The move comes after a year of criticism for testing policies, and continued opposition to new learning standards.

This Spring Florida students will face a new statewide exam that replaces the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Students will take end-of-course exams in every grade and most subjects.

“I believe you should have accountability," Senate President Andy Gardiner recently told reporters."  I think there should be testing.  I think the jury is still out on overtesting.”

Some school districts have passed resolutions against standardized testing and some parent groups are pushing for the chance to opt their children out of some exams. The department of education says its review of standardized testing is meant to show parents how the tests are used, and to find quote “deregulation opportunities for the school system.”

Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says there are no plans to pause the end-of-course exams or the Florida Standards Assessment, which will start in the Spring.

During his campaign, Governor Rick Scott promised a review on standardized testing.

DOE is accepting applications for its review committee. The department says the committee will have its first meeting in March.

The Leon County School district has joined several others in passing a resolution against standardized testing. Districts around Florida are growing increasingly frustrated with a state mandate for end-of-course exams in all subject areas. In Leon alone, the district is looking at more than 1200 new exams.