Student assessment changes approved by House Education Committee
Image via Phil Sears.

Manny Diaz, Jr.

A bill that would push many student assessment tests to the last weeks of the year and open the prospect that SAT and ACT tests could replace Florida’s English and math tests was overwhelmingly approved by the Florida House Education Committee Monday.

Committee Substitute for House Bill 773 contains a number of education omnibus reforms ranging from removing bonus caps for public school teachers to allowing pencils and paper testing again for younger students.

Key provisions for the bill, however, continue the Florida Legislature’s efforts to roll back on perceived over-testing of students.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah,  requires that English tests for students in grades 3-10 and math tests for grades 3-8 be held in the last three weeks of the year, to reduce disruptions.

The bill also provides that the Florida Department of Education commission a study to see how well the SAT and ACT national college preparatory tests align with Florida’s assessments, to see if they might be used instead of many of Florida’s tests.

It also requires that teachers – both current and following-year instructors – receive “easy-to-read” and understandable reports on a student’s performance on the tests, to include advice to parents on how to help with strengths and areas that need improvement.

The bill’s companion measure, Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 926, goes further in many areas, including eliminations of some end-of-course exams, and House Education members and public speakers who spoke for HB 773 either voiced support for Diaz’s effort or hope that it could go even further to mirror the reforms in 926.

“We like this bill. We hope that as it moves forward, we can go even further,” said Angie Gallo of the Florida PTA.

 

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].



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