Testing relief for high schoolers in Hillsborough
High school students in Hillsborough County will see testing relief this spring as the school district continues to chip away at duplicate exams.
More than a dozen classes, from AP French to IB Visual Arts, are affected by the change.
"By the reduction of these exams, schools and students will have less stress over having to take duplicate testing in these courses," Superintendent Jeff Eakins wrote in a memo last week to School Board members.
The action, which takes effect this spring, follows a pruning in the last school year of elementary school assessments.
Fueling the move is a state law that limits standardized testing to five percent of a student's total hours; and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives incentives to states to streamline testing.
Committees that studied the issue found that students in Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate programs, which have their own competency exams, must sit through tests in the same material that are issued by the school district, largely to evaluate teachers.
It turns out that the AP and IB tests -- along with the ACT, the SAT and state-issued end of course exams -- generate enough data to show student growth and evaluate the teachers.
With the school year now ending in May, IB and AP tests occur very close to the end of the school year, bumping up against the district's exam schedule.
Some students already earn exemptions from the district exams through good attendance and grades. The committee found that, in calculating final grades, schools can follow the same procedure.