Pasco prepares for test-heavy spring
Each year, the Pasco County school district has quietly posted a calendar listing all its planned student testing on its accountability department web page.
This year, new state law is forcing the district to be more public about its schedule. Amid constant complaints that Florida over-tests children, state officials responded that the state isn't doing all the testing. Most of it, they argued, was local.
To prove the point, the Legislature approved a measure requiring district school boards to publicly approve their testing calendars. Pasco has set its vote for Tuesday.
The calendars show a spring filled with state testing -- FCAT 2.0 (including retakes), end-of-course exams, CELLA tests for students learning English, and the Florida Alternate Assessment for some students with special needs or disabilities. At the same time, there are also many tests that aren't state required, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and district benchmark exams. See the agenda item here.
Whether the public acknowledgement of the calendars will soothe anyone's feelings over tests, and who requires them, remains to be seen. But Pasco leaders have reacted (in part because of a 2012 teacher grievance), adopting a new testing program they hope will reduce the local load.