Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he will issue an executive order suspending the state’s required 11th grade test. His move comes in the wake of rising opposition to testing in the Sunshine State, and a report, released the same day, urging state leaders to cut back on standardized testing.
One of the top recommendations in the study of testing, conducted by Commissioner Pam Stewart at Gov. Scott’s request, was to dump the tests in English/language arts that are given to high school juniors.
Stewart collected information from all 67 counties in the state about the time their schools spend on testing. She found that the amount of testing had actually declined in some grades. Students in 10th grade, for instance, now face 4 1/2 hours of testing, down from 10 hours in 2007, according to the study.
But the commissioner also identified several grades where the amount of testing has risen, and singled them out for action. Eliminating the 11th grade test was a clear option because the state already requires a test for graduation in 10th grade, she said in her report. She also suggested making the state’s 11th grade college-readiness test optional, and dropping district-designed final exams in high school courses that have required statewide end-of-course tests.
Gov. Scott, a Republican, followed up on the report by announcing that he would issue the executive order to provide relief this year to 11th graders, the Associated Press reports. But the legislature must still enact a law if the elimination of the 11th grade test is to take permanent effect, according to the AP. In a recent hearing on the issue, lawmakers came under increasing pressure to cut back testing.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.