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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco schools superintendent plans committee to review testing protocols



Pasco County's School Board and superintendent have heard their share of complaints about testing this spring.

Some parents have said the district treats children poorly by not letting them read quietly after turning in their test materials. Others have said they felt threatened by district or teacher statements that their third graders would be retained if they don't score well enough on the English-language arts Florida Standards Assessment.

There's even been talk that some teachers have told students their jobs are in jeopardy if their classes don't pass the tests.

"I don't know if they said that, but if they did, it's inappropriate," superintendent Kurt Browning told the Gradebook.

He wants to pull together a committee after this spring's testing is completed to review all the concerns and contemplate consistent rules and policies for all district schools. That could include more clear explanations of the rules to both parents and teachers, for example, as well as a standard on what to let kids do once they're finished with their tests.

Browning added that he also would look for ideas to bring to lawmakers or state education officials for consistent rules or laws on handling such issues as how often to offer makeup tests to children who refuse them, or under what circumstances to allow children alternatives to testing for promotion or passing scores. Those decisions have largely landed in districts' laps, creating what Browning saw as a potential inequity in application from county to county. 

He suggested that changes are needed, including moving the testing window back to May, and allowing for more paper-pencil testing (at least until schools have enough computers).

"Everything I've noticed about the [Department of Education} is, it's about what's best for the system as opposed to what's best for the students and the parents and the teachers," Browning said.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2016 3:33pm]


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