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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Teachers union calls for suspension of consequences from Pasco quarterly checks



Questions and concerns about Pasco County's recently implemented quarterly "checks" on student progress have prompted the local teachers union to weigh in with a request to "pause" the system.

The tests, which administrators have likened to a wellness checkup, have come under fire amid complaints of questions without correct answers and items on material not yet covered.

"We are now requesting that the District agree to suspend, at least for the first semester, assigning student grades on any of these quarterly assessments," United School Employees of Pasco operations director Jim Ciadella wrote to assistant superintendent Vanessa Hilton. "Since this is the first time these quarterly assessments have been utilized, and given the public outcry that has arisen related to any/all student testing, we believe it would be prudent on the District's part to follow this suggestion and communicate this decision to district employees and even the public."

Hilton acknowledged via email to the Gradebook that the checks have included "several errors on specific items." She suggested changes would come.

"We have revamped our process for the remainder of the year in a way that will minimize this issue," Hilton wrote. "A survey will be sent to all teachers this week to obtain further input into improving this resource for our schools."

Ciadella said he had not received a specific response to the USEP request, though. Superintendent Kurt Browning, with whom that decision rests, was not available to comment.

On Wednesday, Browning will make a similar request of the Florida Board of Education regarding state testing and the use of its results. "Superintendents believe the data from the 2015 assessment should not be used for decisions on student progression and graduation, or teacher evaluations and school grades," he wrote in comments prepared for the State Board.

Stay tuned to see what he says about the tests in his own district.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 1:18pm]


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