New bill would overhaul Florida's standardized testing system

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PHOTO VIA ALBERTO G. ON FLICKR.
  • Photo via Alberto G. on Flickr.
Florida's high-stakes testing system is a large part of students' daily school routine in the Sunshine State.

But now, a group of Republican and Democratic senators has come up with new legislation that would overhaul the standardized tests that have become a rite of passage for Florida students.

According to the Associated Press, a Senate panel on Monday, April 3, approved a compromise measure that would make drastic changes to high-school exams and testing formats.

SB 926 would eliminate four end-of-the-year exams for high-schoolers that are now required in civics, United States history, geometry and Algebra II.

It would also allow school districts to use pencil-and-paper tests, whereas now schools are required to administer tests online.

Another change could allow students who've gotten good scores on college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT or on advanced placement tests to bypass the required state assessment tests.

The legislation also looks to push back the dates of testing, requiring them to be given only during the last three weeks of the school year. Currently, the tests can be administered anytime from late February to the end of the year.

Florida expanded its standardized testing system under Gov. Jeb Bush, who used these tests to tie student performance to a school grading system, which determines school funding.

The Florida House is also proposing changes to the standardized testing system with a new, slightly less dramatic bill.

The legislation calls for changing the dates the standardized tests are given and would require schools to display test grades in an easy-to-read format for students and parents.

It also asks for a study to be conducted to see if some of the school's math and reading tests could be substituted with college entrance exam scores.

It's unclear if there is enough support in the House to accept the Senate bill's overhaul should it eventually pass.


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