Standards

Fla. Chief Weighs ‘Plan B’ on Tests

By Catherine Gewertz — February 26, 2013 1 min read

Tony Bennett, Florida’s new schools chief and one of the nation’s most visible cheerleaders for the Common Core State Standards and related assessments, says his state needs a contingency plan in case the tests are not ready.

At his first meeting with the state board of education, Mr. Bennett said this month he will develop a “plan B” for statewide testing in 2014-15 in case the common assessments being developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, aren’t ready as promised.

The “complexities” that could delay the test, Mr. Bennett said, include its cost, agreeing on a common cutoff score, and determining if schools have sufficient technology to handle the computer-based tests. He has also been talking with Florida lawmakers about a possible four-month delay in implementation of the standards and tests.

In an interview, Mr. Bennett said his desire for a plan B is nothing new; he did the same thing as commissioner of education in Indiana. When 20-plus states are designing a test together, he said, it’s a complex undertaking, and it’s simply prudent management to have a backup plan in place.

“It’s in no way an indication of any deep fear that PARCC is going to fail,” Mr. Bennett said. “No one wants this to succeed more than I do, and no one believes it ultimately will succeed more than I do.”

The idea of an implementation delay was raised by Florida lawmakers, who offered Mr. Bennett flexibility in the implementation timeline. He hasn’t decided yet whether to do that, he said. First, he wants to survey districts to see how far they are from being technologically capable of implementing the tests, and to better gauge how prepared teachers are to teach the new standards, he said.

“There is a great deal of evidence that we have done a lot to roll out an implementation plan for the standards,” Mr. Bennett said. “It’s important to me to go out and check with the field. ... You just want to make sure that what we say we are delivering is getting delivered to the local districts.”

The Florida commissioner said he is proceeding on the presumption that he will be identifying gaps to fill in technology or training rather than slowing down implementation.

A version of this article appeared in the February 27, 2013 edition of Education Week as Fla. Chief Weighs ‘Plan B’ on Tests

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
The Fall K-3 Classroom: What the data imply about composition, challenges and opportunities
The data tracking learning loss among the nation’s schoolchildren confirms that things are bad and getting worse. The data also tells another story — one with serious implications for the hoped for learning recovery initiatives
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Student Well-Being Online Summit Student Mental Health
Attend this summit to learn what the data tells us about student mental health, what schools can do, and best practices to support students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards How to Assess English-Learners' Needs From a Distance? Here's Some Help
With schools unable to conduct in-person evaluations, schools must find new ways to determine if students need English-language-learner support services.
2 min read
Standards Fact Check: Trump Administration Didn't 'Get Rid' of Common Core
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos implied at the Conservative Political Action Conference that President Donald Trump has fulfilled a pledge to "get rid of" the Common Core State Standards. That's not true.
2 min read
Standards People Keep on Saying They're Killing the Common Core. How Dead Is It?
Florida's governor declares a standards overhaul would "remove all vestiges" of the common core. But it remains unclear how much is really changing under the Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking.
4 min read
Standards Mismatch Seen Between New Science Tests and State Requirements
Teachers in some states worry students may face questions on topics they haven't studied on new science tests rolling out across the country.
6 min read