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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida works to get tests ready for 2015 teacher evaluations



The official link between Florida teacher evaluations, pay and student test results is just a year off.

Beyond selecting statewide assessments for English and math, the Florida Department of Education also is working to create a question bank for districts to use in other subject areas. Districts are expected to have tests in place for all courses, to ensure that teachers are evaluated on their own students' work in their fields.

Last week, commissioner Pam Stewart told superintendents that she expected the question bank for local tests in science, social studies and Spanish to be ready by the end of June. Five districts -- Bay, Citrus, Hillsborough, Indian River, and Osceola -- have volunteered to pilot the initiative. Several other districts, including Hernando, Miami-Dade and Leon, have offered to participate in "item tryouts" this spring.

The tryouts are not supposed to interfere with the state's FCAT schedule.

Districts also are working with the state to develop tests in areas such as physical education, performing arts and career/technical education.

The flurry of activity, and the fast approaching deadlines, have raised concerns among many superintendents. "The FADSS Legislative Platform states that school districts have struggled with the development of local assessments, including EOCs, which will satisfy the statutory deadline of 2014-2015.  Districts have made strides, but most districts may not be able to comply," superintendents association lobbyist Joy Frank wrote in a recent memo to members.

This week, the group is surveying districts to determine where each stands, before the testing issue comes up in the Legislature and with the State Board of Education again. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 10:40am]


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