Florida superintendents ask state education commissioner to limit importance of standard testing due to pandemic

Florida's superintendents are worried that students might not be ready to take statewide school tests that will begin next month. They want Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to step in.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Statewide school testing begins next month, but Florida superintendents are worried their students might not be ready.

Pointing to a need for flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of Florida Association of Superintendents and Pinellas County Superintendent Michael Grego on Wednesday urged Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to ask the federal government for waivers related to student assessments and accountability.

But Corcoran sign an order February 15 requiring in-person testing for students in grade 3 and up. It applies to students in remote leaning.

The US Department of Education has also been urging states to move forward with testing. It’s already published a plan to conduct testing in according with social distancing guideline. That includes

  • Extending the testing window
  • Giving the assessment remotely, and
  • Shortening the state tests

Grego urged Corcoran to seek testing waivers from the federal government because of how the pandemic has interfered with learning, writing in part,

“Many students and staff members have missed time at school due to the illness itself or mandatory quarantine periods of up to two weeks at a time. Many students struggled in various online platforms for a variety of reasons, including lack of access to broadband. Others have not been attending school in any form, and some have only recently started back in the brick and mortar setting,”

The waiver doesn’t exempt students from taking standardized testing, but would limit how the test results are used.

Corcoran has not yet responded to Grego’s letter.

Standardized testing begins April 15 and continues through May 28 in Florida schools.

About the Authors:

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.