Education

New Statewide Assessment Test Around the Corner

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: March 13, 2014 3:55 AM
Pam Stewart

Pam Stewart

It’s been a wild ride for the Florida Department of Education over the past year, with leadership changes and a new set of education standards setting the stage for what promises to be a year of education headlines in the Sunshine State.

Florida will officially implement its Common Core-aligned Florida Standards by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, and with the new standards will come a variety of changes.

One of the biggest changes coming to Florida’s education system is selecting a new test to replace the FCAT, which has been used to assess student achievement since 1998. The new test will have to align with the Florida Standards, which proponents say measure higher levels of analytical thinking.

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart is set to announce the replacement test this month.

According to the Times-Herald Tallahassee Bureau, a Florida Department of Education procurement panel suggested the nonprofit American Institutes for Research should produce Florida’s next statewide exam.

Stewart will ultimately have the final say in what assessment test is chosen to replace the FCAT.

Five groups submitted proposals to win the contract for Florida’s next assessment test: ACT, the American Institutes for Research, McCann Associates, Pearson, and CTB/McGraw-Hill. The companies’ proposals will not be made to the public until after Stewart announces the official replacement test.

Florida was initially on board with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment test, but plans to push forward with PARCC reached a roadblock after high-profile legislators called upon Gov. Rick Scott to withdraw from the assessment test.

In response, Scott pulled Florida out of the financial responsibility of the test and called for three public hearings to gather public input on the standards. The department also accepted online comments -- approximately 19,000 -- on the standards, which ultimately led to around 100 approved changes to Common Core.

Yet , even though Florida has pulled out of the financial portion of PARCC, it’s not completely off the table. Although not listed as one of the five contenders for the new assessment test, PARCC could still be chosen by Stewart to replace the FCAT despite its unpopularity.

Groups opposed to the standards haven’t let up on their criticism of the Florida Standards. One anti-Common Core group, Florida Parents Against Common Core, protested the standards outside a private fundraising event held for Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month.

"Our intent is to send a loud and clear message to the governor and leadership," the organizers of the protest wrote in a press release. Stewart and the state board will meet Tuesday via conference call. Although not explicitly stated, the meeting’s agenda says Stewart will be “providing an update on current and evolving education issues,” which could imply a decision is only a few days away.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen. 


Comments (2)

Yea!
8:58AM MAR 13TH 2014
Debra. You are so right! But what gets the people the most is Jeb Bush was and is the main party in the USA pushing this. Does that mean that the Bushes really endorse Islam? Why was GW in Florida on 9/11? Was the Saudi Royal family members really sneeked out of the Tampa Airport and the only airplane in the sky after the 9/11 attack as some retired FBI Agent alleges? If so this means the Bush family has got a lot of explaining to do to the American people, because 9/11 was the excuse GW used to invade Iraq. Everyone always knew not one person from "Iraq" was on those planes. The American people had better wake up fast. Jeb Bush can not dispute his leadership and push for Common Core. This is indisputable evidence of which side of right and wrong this family is on and has been on for decades.
Debra
8:35AM MAR 13TH 2014
Common Core needs to go! Stop dumbing down our kids and brainwashing them to believe Islam is a peaceful religion. It is not. Take a look at quran (sp) Violent against Christians

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