Will key end-of-course exams be included in RTTT assessment program?

Much of the discussion during yesterday’s meeting of the Governor’s Race to the Top Working Group was about the importance of well-validated end-of-course tests that will be used in the assessment of students and teachers.  SB 4, the bill recently signed into law by Governor Crist, will initiate EOC’s in several subjects, including Biology, Algebra I and Geometry.  But the bill leaves seven more subjects in a sort of EOC purgatory, where they will reside until the money to implement them and the interest of the Commissioner of Education become available.  No date certain is set.  Chemistry, Earth/space science and physics are among the seven, along with Algebra II, English/Language Arts II, United States History and World History.  At $1.5 million per test per year, the EOC Purgatory Seven would cost $10.5 million per year to implement.

But as was made clear yesterday, the need for high quality EOC assessments goes far beyond the ten classes mentioned above.  How will it all be paid for?

One possibility for start-up money is the Race to the Top Assessment Program, a companion to the Race to the Top competition that was won by Delaware and Tennessee last month and for which a second round will be contested this summer.  The assessment program is funded at $350 million, which is intended to provide four years of support to a few large consortia of states.  Education Week reported a few weeks ago that Florida is one of the leading members of a consortium of 30 states being organized by ACHIEVE, the National Governors’ Association education arm.  The consortium will be competing for a $160 million grant (from the total $350 million pot) which would be spent over four years on the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment system.

However, there is no guarantee that the EOC Purgatory Seven would be included in such a system.  When spread over 30 states and a plethora of subjects, $160 million over four years doesn’t seem like a huge amount of money.

The deadline for submission of letters of intent for the Race to the Top Assessment Program is today, April 29.  The final applications are due June 23, and the winners will be announced in September.

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2 Responses to Will key end-of-course exams be included in RTTT assessment program?

  1. Bob Calder says:

    I we are only interested in how the state is doing in general, why test every child in every school? Why not do it by lottery?

    • Paul Cottle says:

      My primary concern as a physics professor at a state university is that students who have taken Honors Physics are coming to me having seen about half of what the state syllabus for the course says they should have seen. I would like to make sure that the entire syllabus is covered, and the end-of-course test would provide an incentive for classes to do so, just as the Regents physics exam does in New York State. I don’t believe testing a random sample would get us to this goal.

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