Leon Co. parents, educators react to new Florida testing system

Leon Co. parents, educators react to new Florida testing system.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - New legislation signed into law by Gov. DeSantis Tuesday will change the way Florida students take standardized tests.

Starting next school year, students will take two small assessments at the beginning and middle of the school year, and one comprehensive exam at the end.

When DeSantis first proposed this legislation 6 months ago, he said it would reduce the time students spend taking tests by 75%.

Critics say this law might actually have the opposite effect.

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, said there’s no reason to believe the new assessment will be any better than what it’s replacing.

“I think it’s important to realize that the stress that students are under, the high stakes nature of the assessments, and the focus on testing over teaching continues,” Spar said. “And that’s where we have problems.”

Heather Garcia, a parent, school librarian, and member of the Leon Classroom Teacher Association, said she also felt the legislation falls short.

“I personally am a little bit disappointed,” Garcia said. “Because it’s kind of like a bait and switch. Whereas initially we thought it would be less testing, it turns out that it’s going to be more frequent testing.”

The text of the bill that was signed into law does not mention DeSantis’s promise to reduce testing time by 75%.

Still, some parents hope it will be less stressful for their students.

“Now that might work,” parent Tanye Neal said. “With smaller tests and three tests throughout the year, versus one big test over two days. It might be a good thing.”

The law also extends statewide testing to younger students starting in PreK and requires that these tests be taken on a computer.

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