testing

John Oliver spent 18 minutes taking on standardized testing, teacher evaluations and all things “accountability” related on his show, “Last Week Tonight.”

And, of course, Florida plays a starring role.

Warning: Salty language, off-color jokes and test monkeys ahead.

wcsryanhartley / Flickr

Testing experts say so far Florida's problems with its new statewide exam, the Florida Standards Assessments, are likely not serious enough for the state to consider throwing out this year’s test scores.

departmentofed / Flickr

Nearly one in five Florida third graders were at risk of being held back because of low scores on the state reading test last year.

But this year the state might not hold back any third graders. That’s because a Senate committee voted to suspend those penalties this year.

The bill requires an outside group to make sure the state test results are statistically valid.

Sen. David Simmons says he wants to make sure schools and the state can depend on Florida Standards Assessments results before making big decisions using those results.

Clevis Harrison / PBS

This week, PBS is launching a new documentary series, "180 Days."

One of the films focuses on Hartsville, South Carolina, a rural and poor district which has managed to become one of the highest rated school districts, according to South Carolina's ranking.

Five Questions About Florida's Testing Problems

Mar 8, 2015
stanfordedtech / Flickr

Last week, dozens of Florida school districts had to postpone state testing because of problems with the new Florida Standards Assessments.

Students couldn’t log in to the online writing exam -- and some who did were booted out and temporarily lost their answers.

The problems seem to have been resolved Thursday. By Friday, more than half of students scheduled to take the online writing exam had finished.

Here's five questions about what happened and what's next.

What happened?

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard...

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard...

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For the second day in a row, some Florida school districts decided to suspend required testing because of computer problems.

Miami-Dade Schools Suspending New State Test

Mar 3, 2015
Ann Douglas / Flickr

Miami-Dade schools are suspending online state testing for eighth through 10th graders after many students were unable to log on to Florida's new writing test Monday.

School districts across the state reported problems with the exam. And the test ran slowly for many who did manage to sign on.

Miami-Dade is suspending online testing for students who have yet to complete the writing test until the state can prove the new online system is running smoothly

Florida Department of Education / Flickr

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has recommended eliminating a high school exam, making another optional and asking state lawmakers and local school districts to cut back on the amount of testing.

Stewart's recommendations are the conclusion of a statewide review of standardized testing requested by Gov. Rick Scott.

"There is, without a doubt, an excess of testing in Florida schools," Stewart said in a statement, saying she'll work with Scott, lawmakers and school districts to "strike the appropriate balance between accountability and instruction."

StephenMitchell / Flickr

A proposal to limit students to 45 hours of testing a year is unlikely to reduce the amount of time spent on exams, according to a survey of Florida's largest school districts.

Districts say they don't currently track the time individual students spend on testing.

Calculating the number is complicated. The amount of testing varies by a student's grade, the classes he or she is taking and other factors, such as whether the student is learning English or receives extra time to accommodate a disability.

Miami Herald

Former Gov. Jeb Bush defended his record on education at a Tallahassee education summit Tuesday, taking on testing, unions and school choice.

But Bush didn't mention Common Core -- the politically caustic multi-state math and language arts standards for which he has been a chief cheerleader. Bush is a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, and many conservatives worry the standards will mean a loss of local control over what's taught in schools.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

    

    

The chairman of a Senate committee that oversees public education filed legislation Monday aimed at cutting back on testing time in Florida schools, opening a debate about how to limit the scope and importance of state assessments.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says students cannot skip state-required tests, and teachers and schools can be punished for refusing to administer required exams.

Stewart’s letter is a response to questions from senators as they prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Senators wanted to know if students could opt out of state-required exams and how doing so might affect their progress in school.

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