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Pinellas may reduce number of high stakes tests | News

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Pinellas may reduce number of high stakes tests

St. Petersburg, Florida- Are public school students being tested too much? There's a growing movement of parents and teachers that say yes. 

The non-for-profit group has drawn up the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing for people to support. Three school districts have signed it and now Pinellas and Hernando may be doing the same.

National Resolution on High Stakes Tests

"A snap shot of two-days testing is not a valid picture where a student is in their learning," says Terri MacLemore, third-grade teacher at Sawgrass Elementary.

It's graduation time for the 5th graders at Sawgrass Elementary and time to recognize their achievements. 

Pamela Cartwright makes honor roll but her A and B grades are not the only way she's assessed. Pamela took 12 standardized tests during her 5th grade year. Pamela says, "Maybe one big test combining everything you need with a few questions," would work.

MacLemore says the testing is worst for her students. She says third-graders take 19 standardized tests during the school year including the FCAT. 

MacLemore says she tries to lower students' stress level. "There's still stress there. We take a lot of instructional time, time that we could be doing the teaching part of the job verses the test prepping part of our job."

Teachers say they are not opposed to standardized testing but they are opposed to the way the information is used or not used.

"Is the test helping to drive our instruction? Does it help us be better? We see FCAT results but we never see the test to analyze what we need to work on," says MacLemore.

The third grade teacher hopes with the national common core standards going on-line in 2014, students will spend less time testing and more time learning.

The Pinellas School Board will vote on the resolution at its next board meeting June 12.  

School districts in Palm Beach County, Broward and St. Lucie have already signed on.


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