Senate committee OKs bill to replace standardized tests with digitized progress monitoring

The goal is to devote less time on testing and more time on learning.

Florida may soon replace the current standardized testing system in public schools with a “progress monitoring program” under a bill OK’d Wednesday by a Senate committee.

The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed the proposal (SB 1048) unanimously. Miami Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. is the bill sponsor.

Under the measure, public schools must roll out a digitized progress monitor tool and a year-end assessment covering math and English within the year. The goal is to devote less time on testing and more time on learning, Diaz suggested.

“We feel that the potential is here for the implementation of progress monitoring and a system that will be game changing for our teachers, for our students and for our parents,” Diaz told committee members.

Diaz highlighted the benefits of leaving standardized testing in the past throughout the meeting.

Among other benefits, he contends the change will allow educators and students to streamline learning data between one another. The measure requires schools provide student performance results within a week to teachers and two weeks to parents. 

“I think we all know that a loud cheer went across the state from parents, instructors and teachers (now) that we’re going to look at testing and see if we could do a better job,” said Committee Chairman Doug Broxson.

Such changes, however, come at a cost. Though the current price tag is unknown, Diaz said lawmakers will have a better idea when the bill appears next before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“There could be an additional cost to school districts to administer progress monitoring assessments three times per year, as well as administering the assessments to additional grade levels,” says a staff analysis.

The analysis adds, however, that districts may save funds by using less paper.

Diaz’s proposal will appear next before the Senate Appropriations Committee for its final committee stop.

Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando is the companion bill sponsor (HB 1193).

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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