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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough testing decision gets Pasco school leaders talking

The Hillsborough school district's announcement it would scale back student testing has piqued interest in neighboring Pasco County.

After reading the news -- which both staffers and parents sent to him -- superintendent Kurt Browning began asking his team whether Pasco could follow suit.

"I want to know how they reduce assessments and still meet the statutory requirements," Browning said in an email to communications director Linda Cobbe, who previously worked in Hillsborough. "Also, how do they give teachers the flexibility to determine what assessments will be given?"

Cobbe reached out to Hillsborough officials asking for details, with the added note, "We'd love to get rid of more tests." The information has just begun to arrive.

Browning has attempted to reduce the testing load in the past, canceling a variety of district-mandated end-of-course tests last spring. Some parents and teachers contended that the effort was undermined, though, by the district's expansion of what it calls "quarterly checks" during the current academic year.

Pasco also might have fewer places to trim than Hillsborough, which has long led the region and state in locally generated exams that other districts did not use. Just a year ago, Hillsborough leaders defended their use of testing, while leaving the door open for changes. They look to be walking through that door now, and Pasco leaders might join them. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2016 10:11am]


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