Florida Senate President Expects Legislative Hearings Into School Testing

Dec 19, 2014

Students are taking a lot of practice tests on paper, but Florida's new standardized assessments will be online.
Credit Ryan McGilchrist/flickr

Teacher and parent groups say Florida public school students are spending too much time taking – and getting ready for - assessments.

Now, Senate President Andy Gardiner says lawmakers will likely hold hearings to review the amount of testing being done.

“I think the jury’s still out on, you know, are we over testing,” Gardiner told reporters at the Capitol. “But the idea that we would walk away from something that we could have measurable goals and we could compare ourselves to other states – it’s hard to see that the legislature would go in that direction.”

Gardiner says he believes in testing and accountability, but he’s also heard from voters that may have legitimate concerns.

“You have to start with defining testing,” Gardiner said. “You know, is preparing for a test that the state mandates considered testing?”

Yes, according to the statewide teacher’s union.

“Those are tests because you’re giving them practice tests and preparing for what the test is going to be,” says Joanne McCall, vice president of the Florida Education Association. “When you have about 80 to 100 days of testing, that’s a little bit crazy.”

Florida is switching to new state tests that are designed to fit the math and language arts standards known as Common Core. Districts are doing a lot of prep work getting students ready to take the new tests for the first time in March.