Putting Education Reform To The Test

Explaining Florida’s Choices For Its Next Standardized Test

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett says he could recommend a new test in July or August.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett says he could recommend a new test in July or August.

In the next few weeks, the man in charge of kindergarten through twelfth grade education in Florida has to answer a multiple choice question: Which standardized test should the state pick to replace the FCAT?

The new test is part of Florida’s move to new, tougher education standards known as Common Core. Students will begin taking the test in 2015.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett said recommending a test is the Florida Department of Education’s top short-term priority.

The leading contender is known as PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC is an online test which would ask students to perform puzzle-like tasks in order to answer questions.

“We have to get the assessment right,” Bennett recently said. “Whether that’s PARCC, or whether that is a different assessment system that other states are, frankly, looking at as well. If you were to ask me item number one next 30 to 60 days? That’s item number one; we have to make that decision.”

Bennett has many things to consider before deciding, such as whether the new exams are any good, or what they cost. Florida could stick with PARCC, decide to develop its own test or go with a test designed by a testing company, such as ACT.

The decision is important because one goal of adopting common education standards was that states would adopt common tests as well. That way students in Appalachicola could compare their scores with those in Atlanta or Albuquerque.

States across the country will be watching. Florida is an education trend-setter and a leader among the states developing PARCC. If Florida stays with PARCC, it may persuade other states to stay the course. If Florida goes a different way, other states might also drop the PARCC test.

StateImpact Florida’s John O’Connor and Sammy Mack examined the decision in this week’s broadcast feature. Click the the story to listen.


  • xambriel

    After so many studies proving that standardized tests really only correlate with a school’s poverty level, and no studies proving otherwise – why are we still looking for ways to give testing companies taxpayer money?

    • Framerman

      It seems odd to me that after 3-months, you are the only comment here. Your answer would be: The No Child Left Behind act. Begun by Gov. Scott’s republican buddy G.W. Bush.

      • QueenCandace On-ahrise Cornwal

        Actually Framerman, that would not be the answer for the kids that are very intellectual, and yet have poor test taking skills. That would also not be the answer for all the kids that were taught how to pass standardized test simply to gain the right to be promoted to the other grade instead of learning and having gained and absorbed all the necessary knowledge that they can then reapply later on. I am sad to see that this is a serious issue that affects far more youths than you can envision an yet you can respond so disregarding and inappropriately. Your answer shows that you would have in fact passed the test with the correct historical answer, however, you lack the actual knowledge and mental capacity to critically think in the least. The no child left behind act needs to be revised as well!!!!

        • Framerman

          Actually QueenCandace, you are correct that teaching students to pass a test that allows them to go to the next grade is ludicrous. It only teaches a very narrow field of knowledge, in no way provides a well rounded education, and doesn’t prepare children for college, (which used to be what primary schools (K-12) were for). It is a very, very serious issue. The No Child Left Behind Act doesn’t need to be revised, it needs to be abolished. It’s ruining some extremely effective school systems. I posted an answer to a question. A perfectly legitimate use of this blog site. If you had just left your opinion, I would have replied in kind and agreed with you. Please count to ten before hitting submit. When you call people names and degrade them, for seemingly no reason (and on your very first comment, too), places you very close to the definition of a troll.

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