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Florida House Backs School Testing Changes

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - The Florida House is set to consider a bill aimed at replacing the standardized Florida Standards Assessments with a "progress monitoring" system in public schools.

The 59-page bill (HB 1193) is designed to carry out a proposal from Gov. Ron DeSantis that called for overhauling the state's testing system.

The House Education & Employment Committee approved the measure in a 13-5 vote Wednesday, sending it to the House floor.

Under the bill, progress monitoring tests in English-language arts would be administered to students in third through 10th grade at the beginning, middle, and end of each school year.

Tests in mathematics would be given to students in third through eighth grade on the same schedule.

Results from the first two progress monitoring tests would be provided to teachers within one week of administering the exams and given to parents within two weeks.

The final test of the year would be used for accountability purposes such as calculating school grades.

The bill also spells out that results from the first year of the new testing system would "serve as an informational baseline for schools and districts to work toward improved performance in future years," rather than using the results to calculate school grades.

A House staff analysis described that part of the bill as "holding schools harmless for the 2022-2023 school year."

Critics of the measure have argued that the progress monitoring system would in effect introduce more testing during the school year.

Scott Mazur, president of the Leon Classroom Teacher Association, was one of several educators who opposed the bill Wednesday.

"We need to protect time for students to do the work that they're being asked to do so that they can have those learning opportunities. Because it is the experiences, not the tests, that will make them successful adults," Mazur said.

A similar Senate bill (SB 1048) is ready for consideration by the full Senate.

(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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