Fewer, Better Tests

PASSED House Bill 7069

Sponsors: Senator John Legg and Representative Marlene O’Toole

First, here is an update on what will not change with House Bill 7069:

  • Florida still will administer statewide tests in grades three through 10. This year, we transitioned from the FCAT to the new Florida Standards Assessment.
  • Test scores still will be used for calculating school grades.
  • Third graders still will have to demonstrate sufficient reading skills – whether on the state test, an alternative assessment or a portfolio of work – to advance into fourth grade.
  • High school students still must pass the state reading tests and the end-of-course Algebra 1 exam in order to graduate.

What has changed?

The Timing and Amount of Tests

  • The state is creating transparency in the testing process. Parents will be informed of all tests their children are taking and who requires them – the state or the school districts.
  • The results of diagnostic tests used to evaluate student progress will be returned to teachers and parents within 30 days, so they can act on the information. Teachers have voiced concerns that they were not receiving results for up to two months, which is too late to be of benefit in the classroom.
  • The bill caps the total time that students may spend taking state and locally-required tests to 5% of the school year, or 45 hours.
  • The bill removes duplicative end-of-course (EOC) testing at the local level by prohibiting local final assessments in subjects tested with a statewide EOC exam.
  • It eliminates the 11th grade English/Language Arts assessment (which was new this school year) and the requirement that certain 11th grade students take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT), a college placement test given to low-performing students to identify necessary remediation prior to graduation.
  • The bill requires students receive results on statewide standardized assessments by the end of the school year.
  • The bill gives school districts flexibility in deciding how to best remediate low performing middle and high school students. Previously, the law required school districts to put low performing students into remedial classes. Now, districts will have flexibility to use other options such as summer school and tutoring.
  • Outside experts will review the validity of the new Florida Standards Assessments results before they are used to make high-stakes decisions. This is on top of existing review from the Florida Department of Education and independent reviewers, which always occurs when there is a change in assessments and standards.