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Pasco County school district considers altering testing, graduation for future high school seniors

Officials want to spend more time on lessons leading to the end of the year.

Every spring as the end of classes nears, Pasco County's high school seniors expect to finish a week or more earlier than everyone else. They graduate while other students are completing their finals.

Superintendent Kurt Browning and his leadership team want to change the the schedule for coming years. They've proposed extending lesson time deeper into May, and administering year-end exams as late in the second semester as possible.

All students, including seniors, would conclude the school year on the same day, rather than more than a week apart. Commencement would take place afterward.

"Testing ought to come after all the teaching is done, and teaching ought to go as long as possible," district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe explained.

Browning has hinted broadly for several years that he would like to go this direction. He frequently has criticized the state's testing system, and argued against a testing window that opens weeks before the teachers have gotten through the curriculum.

That's part of the reason he advocated a return to paper-pencil testing, which can be conducted in a shorter time frame than when schools must rely on limited numbers of computers.

Related: Browning seeks changes to state testing system 

School Board member Colleen Beaudoin furthered the argument late in 2017, when she questioned the district's own semester exam schedule that ended before vacation was set to start.

"It's a final exam. It should be at the end of the semester," Beaudoin told the staff at the time.

Related: Don't waste teaching time on tests, Pasco School Board says 

Browning is to introduce the proposal during a workshop on Tuesday. It also would include plans to reschedule graduation venues, alter grade processing and updating the student progression plan. See the district Power Point presentation for added details.