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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Flagler teachers union leader offers the "rest of the story" on testing

Flagler County Educators Association president Katie Hanson has heard darts and jibes about teacher union motivations in supporting a push to reduce Florida's emphasis on testing results. She wrote a column for to offer her views on the effort and teachers' role in it.

The problem, she like so many others asserts, is not testing and accountability per se.

"I just don’t believe that the current method of "accountability" is accurate or appropriate.  The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is plagued with issues and errors, which you can easily find documented on numerous websites that research the validity of FCAT tests and other high-stakes tests.

"Beyond errors and issues with the test itself is the time teachers and students must devote to testing. While there is a place for some testing, students are not going to improve simply because we test them more.  The FCAT test itself can take up to eight hours or more to administer, taking up as many as nine school days to complete, not to mention FAIR testing, End of Course exams, and the plethora of other tests that our students are required to take over the course of a single school year. Wouldn’t this time be better spent with teachers teaching and working with the students to deepen and strengthen their understanding of concepts?"

Check out the piece. Compare it with some of the spirited defenses that the supporters of Florida's system have presented in recent weeks. Is there a way to have just the right amount of appropriate testing to ensure accountability without overburdening students, teachers and schools? Is Florida already there, but bogged down by districts that add too many extra assessments to the mix, as has been suggested? Can Florida get there if it's not already arrived? 

[Last modified: Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:56pm]


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