Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Panel Recommends AIR For Florida’s Next Test

A Florida Department of Education panel is recommending the American Institutes for Research produce Florida's next statewide test.

A Florida Department of Education panel is recommending the American Institutes for Research produce Florida’s next statewide test.

The non-profit American Institutes for Research should produce Florida’s next statewide exam a Florida Department of Education procurement panel said Tuesday, the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau reports.

The final recommendation is up to Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. She has said she plans to announce her choice next month.

AIR beat out bids from testing heavyweights such as Pearson — who currently has the state FCAT contract — CTB/McGraw-Hill and the ACT Aspire. From the story:

Team members said CTBĀ had submitted a competitively priced proposal.Ā But they worried theĀ plan would require students to spend more time taking tests than they currently do under the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test system.

There was also some hesitation to choose CTB because the company has not developed high-school tests yet, team member and Deputy Education CommissionerĀ Juan Copa said.

The team considered Pearson’s experience in Florida a plus. (Pearson held Florida’s previous testingĀ contract, worth more than $250 million.) Members were concerned, however, that Pearson would have to develop a completely new exam, and that the company wanted field tests in the fall.

AIR, on the other hand, did not need a “stand-alone field test,” Copa said.

Another feature the committee seemed to like: AIR’s tests could be given later in the school year. (Critics of the FCAT say the exams take place too early in the year, discouragingĀ the teaching of new material once testing is over.)

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