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Gradebook podcast: Does Florida need to change its testing system, with Bob Schaeffer of FairTest

Proposals exist to allow districts to substitute state tests with national ones, and to let students graduate without passing all required exit exams.
Bob Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest
Bob Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest
Published Jan. 11, 2018

As part of an effort to streamline state testing, Florida lawmakers in 2017 called for a study of whether the ACT or SAT would serve as a reliable substitute for certain Florida Standards Assessments. The resulting report stated the idea would not succeed. What’s the next logical step? Some people have suggested creating new pathways to a diploma that sidestep the tests. Some have proposed doing away with the weighty consequences attached to the exams. FairTest public education director Bob Schaeffer, a Lee County resident and no fan of high stakes testing, discusses Florida’s state of testing affairs with reporter Jeff Solochek.


  1. Tampa Bay Tech, still missing star sophomore Janiah Barker, falters in the region final Friday, but if healthy should make another deep playoff run next season.
  2. After its 3-1 victory over Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale on Friday, the Shorecrest girls soccer team  will be playing in the program's first state final next week in Deland.
  3. Land O' Lakes may have fallen one game short of a state final, but, as coach Jen Craven says: “We have some good kids coming from the local middle school. Looking forward, I don’t see any reason why you won’t see us in the show next year."
  4. Monte Kiffin, shown here talking to safety John Lynch during a preseason game against the Jaguars on Aug. 16, 2002, this season will be the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor.
  5. Carrollwood Day's Weeyah McGill, seen here during last year's state tournament, was dominant Friday against Seffner Christian.
  6. Plant senior Honor Culpepper, seen here earlier this season, scores a game-high 20 points in Friday's Class 7A region final victory.
  7. Surveillance footage shows thieves breaking into the Trulieve medical marijuana dispensary on U.S. 19, according to Clearwater police. The break in happened less than an hour after a similar burglary at a store on Clearwater Beach.
  8. Coach Karrmayne King hugs Keswick Christian player Marissa McCauley after the Crusaders soundly defeat Hernando Christian to advance to state.
  9. Tanner Donald Hackman, 22, of Clearwater, faces charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. This photo was taken after a 2018 arrest.
  10. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  11. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES]