Seminole County Schools rename its testing solultion

Seminole County Public Schools is changing the name of its plan to turn weeks of computerized standardized testing into hours of paper and pencil testing.  The “Seminole Solution” is being rebranded as the “Sunshine Solution.”  School board chairman Tina Calderone said the new name reflects growing support. 

"We've had many other school boards across the state want to join our voice of less testing," she said.  "Many are putting it on their agendas for upcoming school board meetings next month."

According to school district staff school boards in Flagler, Manatee and Lake Counties have taken action to endorse the Sunshine Solution.  Charlotte, Citrus, Lake, Leon, and Palm Beach County School districts have sent letters to the Florida Department of Education expressing support.  The district staffer said school boards in Alachua, Clay, Collier, and Escambia counties either have had some discussions supporting the plan or expect to do so soon. 

Last school year it took weeks to administer the Florida Standards Assessment and the exam which is used to evaluate students and teachers was plagued with computer glitches. The Sunshine solution replaces the state-mandated Florida Standards Assessment with the IOWA test or the SAT. Those exams are administered much more quickly using paper and pencil.          

"That is one day for four hours.  So that would cut down on the disruption and increase the ability for our students to learn,” Calderone said.

The plan does not have the support of the state Board of Education.  In an emailed statement to FOX 35 Chairman Marva Johnson said the Department of Education’s response to the Seminole County solution has not changed since the plan was initially outlined in July.  Johnson wrote: "The Florida Standards are unique to our state, and all students are required to take the Florida Standards Assessment. There are no provisions in statute for any other assessment to be used as it would not be able to measure student achievement accurately."

“What our research showed was when we looked at the accountability measures and the standards they were aligned very closely with national tests such as the IOWA and the SAT,” Calderone countered. 

Whether or not the Sunshine Solution will be adopted will ultimately be up to Florida lawmakers.