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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Bill to overhaul high school FCAT filed in Florida House



As we first reported three weeks ago, the Florida Legislature has big plans to revamp student assessment in the state's public high schools, adding more rigorous graduation requirements along the way.

That 47-page bill finally got filed by the House Pre-K-12 Policy Committee late Wednesday, in advance of committee discussion next week. The Senate version is pending. Among the highlights, the legislation would:

  • Require algebra 2 and geometry as two of four math graduation requirements. Algebra 1 and geometry would further be paired with with end of course exams that students must pass to earn graduation credit. 
  • Require biology and either chemistry or physics as two of three science graduation requirements. Biology would include an end of course exam that students must pass to earn the credit.
  • Eliminate FCAT science and math exams at the high school level.
  • Begin the process of creating end of course exams for algebra 2, English 2, chemistry, physics, earth/space science, U.S. history and world history, subject to available funding.

This initiative, about four years in the making, could be one of the biggest changes to the state's assessment system since the Jeb Bush A-Plus plan. Perhaps surprisingly, though, these changes are getting bipartisan support — perhaps because they would further de-emphasize the importance of the FCAT as a single measure of success.

Still, some details likely will require some compromise. Stay tuned.

For more, see also our recent interview with committee chairman John Legg.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:50am]


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