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Florida Tax Watch calls for valid, field-tested Common Core tests

As Floridians continue to espouse their opinions for and against the Common Core, business leaders are weighing in with their support for the standards and associated tests with results that leaders can rely upon.

The Florida Tax Watch has issued a new brief on selecting new assessments for Florida's standards, an issue that has vexed state leadership since the spring. House and Senate leaders have called for a "Florida plan" rather than participating in the PARCC testing consortium, and Gov. Rick Scott appears to have joined that drive as he seeks support for a new term.

Commissioner Pam Stewart has said it will take her until March to make a recommendation on which way to go.

Tax Watch contends that "assessments are vital" to the improvement of Florida's education system, and says the state must take specific steps to avoid backsliding. Without proposing a specific test, the group says Florida must consider these points:

Florida's new assessment must be aligned to Florida's new standards and should provide meaningful results in a timely manner regarding student mastery of content. It should consider testing time, comparability with other states, expense and excessive involvement by the federal government

To provide results in a timely manner, our schools must be equipped with the necessary technology. This will require an investment in the infrastructure needed, and must be considered, first and foremost, a non-negotiable instructional tool for our students.

Time devoted to testing must be an integral consideration, but must also provide for extended student responses in the spirit of applying what they've learned. This cannot be accomplished using multiple choice "bubble tests."

The assessments must afford Florida the ability to compare Florida's students with other states on student achievement and learning growth, which requires assessments field-tested in and developed with input from multiple states

On Twitter, meanwhile, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is urging people to speak in favor of Common Core. The goal, according to the group, is "clarifying the new FL standards and why we need them."

Many state and district leaders have suggested that while Florida might make some adjustments to the standards, it won't do away with them as some have demanded. How do you think this debate will end?