Senate bill calls for test audit

The Florida state Senate has taken a critical step into temporarily suspending school grades due to the outcry form parents, teachers and superintendents, who say the transition into the new computer-based standardized testing has gone so smoothly. SB 616, which would result in a private review of the new testing in Florida, currently is working its way through committee. The bill states that until such a review is completed, data from the new standardized tests cannot be counted toward school grades or teacher evaluations.

Former Senate President Don Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times that results from this year’s test should be used only if they are deemed reliable.

West Shore testing coordinator Mike Drake agrees that the testing procedure should be addressed.

“I do think there is to much testing, but I do not think testing is a bad thing,” Drake said. “I think the way that it is being done is so disruptive and causes such a lost of instructional time that it could be done in a lot more effective way.”

Drake said the speed at which the new tests have been implemented is a concern.

“A few years ago the way the system worked is the Legislature would pass laws regarding education and then the Department of Education would have a year to figure out how they would work, what’s wrong with them, what going to work, and what’s not going to work,” Drake said. “It seems like the last three or four years we have gone to a system were they just enact laws and expect them to be put in place the next week. It’s almost like taking something sticky and just throwing it on the wall to see what works. It’s a total scatterbrained approach to what we are used to.”

Sophomore Andrew Hung is not a fan of the new assessments.

“I think the state should throw out this year’s test. It is becoming very redundant,” Hung said. “They should rethink how much pressure they are putting on students. It is a crazy amount of testing that we are being subjected to. They need to go back to the drawing board and assess the situation they have gotten themselves into.”

By Stone Kershaw