Committed to improving Florida's science standards
FSU physics professor Paul Cottle lately has become a one-man online watchdog for improving Florida's science curriculum. He's become worried recently that as Florida lawmakers prepare to change graduation requirements and exams, science will be left behind:
"The graduation and assessment policy train will leave the station on the day that Representative (John) Legg's (Pre-K-12 Policy) committee bill is filed in February. If non-biology science is not on board, then the work of the last three years on science standards and advocacy for improved science education at the high school level will have failed."
Not to worry, Rep. Legg tells the Gradebook.
Although only one high-stakes end-of-course science exam is now in the works as the Legislature looks to dump the high school FCAT, he said, other lower-stakes end-of-course science tests also will be part of the mix. (By low-stakes, he means worth about 30 percent of a students final grade, combined with other coursework and evaluations.)
"Chemistry and physics will be low-stakes," he said. "As the budget improves and the testing gets validated, we can make them high-stakes, too. We've got to have higher standards in science."