Putting Education Reform To The Test

Bill Requiring School Districts To Post Testing Schedule Moves Forward

Jordan Michael/StateImpact Florida

Rep. Manny Diaz explains his testing bill to the House Education Committee.

A bill moving through the Florida Legislature would require districts to post the testing schedule not just for statewide assessments like the FCAT, but also for local assessments.

The bill’s House sponsor says some districts require up to an additional 151 tests, and many parents don’t know when local assessments are being given.

Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., R-Hialeah, told the House Education Committee today there are no penalties for districts that don’t comply.

“We’re not looking to penalize districts for this,” Diaz said. “We want to use it as an information gathering tool.”

Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Dunedin, supports the bill.

“As a teacher, I can say that my classroom is constantly disrupted,” Zimmerman said. “I think part of it is not just in the volume of tests that are being administered, but in the lack of knowledge of all parties involved on when those tests are being offered.”

The new requirement would be no problem for districts like Orange County Public Schools (OCPS).

Dr. Vickie Cartwright — Senior Director of Accountability, Research, and Assessment at OCPS – says they already post the local testing schedule.

“We require four additional district-wide assessments,” Cartwright said. “They are the PSAT for ninth-grade students, the District Benchmark test, the District EOC (End-of-Course) tests, and the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills).”

Orange County’s district benchmark tests are given in grades 3 through 12, and parents can check the dates online:

  • Reading – all students in grades 3 through 10 twice a year
  • Math – all students in grades 3 through 8 twice a year
  • Science – all students in grades 5 and 8 four times a year
  • Algebra –  given to students enrolled in the course four times a year
  • Geometry – given to students enrolled in the course four times a year
  • Biology – given to students enrolled in the course four times a year

Hillsborough County school officials also post the schedule. They say every additional test the district requires serves a purpose.

The education committee approved the testing bill along with two other committees, so it may be ready for a vote by the full House.

A similar proposal in the Senate hasn’t had a committee hearing yet.


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