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Florida Senate, Superintendents Envision Big Testing Changes


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.

In Florida, standardized tests determine school and district grades, student retention and promotion and teacher pay. Wednesday a group of Florida district superintendents told lawmakers they believe tests not required by the federal government can be eliminated. That would be most of the state’s end-of-course exams.

“Despite an increase in standardized test scores, what we continue to hear from business and industry and our friends in post-secondary, is that our students are not being successful there," says Okeechobee Superintendent Ken Kenworthy.

District superintendents want to go back to using paper and pencil exams, finding alternatives to certain tests and returning control of teacher evaluations back to districts. The committee’s chairman, Senator David Simmons of Maitland, is calling for more reductions in the state’s testing system.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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