"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Florida Preparing Thousands of New Tests

Will students, parents, school boards, and teachers finally say ENOUGH?
Florida school district officials are writing thousands of new exams to administer to students this school year. The effort to create end-of-course tests in subjects not evaluated at the state level, is causing more parents, and local education officials to call for a time out on testing.

Tallahassee mom Elizabeth Overholt is fed up.

“It’s a complete mess to start with," she says about the current state of Florida's school accountability system.

Overholt is part of a growing movement of parents across the state pushing back against standardized testing. She heads the facebook group Opt Out Leon County, and is part of the district’s advisory board. This year, she’s trying to opt her three children out of all exams administered or mandated by the state. That includes the new Florida Assessment Test which has replaced the FCAT. Overholt also doesn’t want her kids taking the end-of-course exams districts now have to administer in all grades and in all subjects. One of her high-school-aged daughters will end up being tested twice in one class as a result of the exam mandates:

“Why? Why test her twice on the same information? That doesn’t benefit her, and it doesn’t inform instruction.  If a test informs instruction, I’m okay with it. But an end-of-course exam is not going to inform instruction for my daughter," Overholt says.

That could be happening because the Advanced Placement scores won’t be back until the fall and the district would still need a way to measure how well a teacher performed. The AP U.S. history class comes with an exam that can be taken to earn college credit, but history is also one of classes the state has created a standardized test for. But there are subjects not tested by the state that districts have to come up with, as mandated by a 2011 teacher merit pay law, which bases part of teacher evaluations on student learning data. The push for more exams has led districts to start creating THOUSANDS of new, additional tests that are going into effect this school year. And in Leon County  the number of new end-of-course exams is between 1200 and 1300. . . .
The rest here.

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