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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Is Barack Obama's call for a cap on testing enough?



President Barack Obama's call last week to scale back standardized testing has resonated in Florida, where the push for assessment reform continues to pick up steam.

But not everyone agrees that the president has the right idea. Count Hillsborough County high school math teacher Kelly Zunkiewicz among them.

In a post for TNTP, Zunkiewicz -- a self-professed lover of data -- suggests he misses the point.

"If we're serious about fixing testing, we can't start by focusing on a particular quota for how much time we're allowed to spend on it," she wrote. "Instead, I'm much more concerned with figuring out which tests are actually useful to us, and which ones aren't-and going from there."

She offered that tests ought to provide a learning experience for students and teachers, benefiting their knowledge and understanding. Those that don't help instruction perhaps aren't needed, she wrote.

Many Florida districts are taking a look at the tests they require, and trying to reduce redundancy. The state Legislature, meanwhile, has asked for a report from all districts detailing exactly how much time students spend testing.

In the past, several districts have not provided that information. But the state has indicated that its testing requirements already are below the 2 percent level that Obama has proposed.

Lawmakers placed a cap on state and district testing at 5 percent of cclassroom time during their 2015 spring session. They could return to the topic this winter. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 9:57am]


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