Seems that lightning has struck once again in Florida. After making some of largest early-grade NAEP improvements in the nation, the Sunshine State is now attempting to beef up its accountability system for high-school students. And in a shocking display of common sense, politicians in Tallahassee are looking beyond their state's borders for good ideas. A bipartisan group of state legislators is set to make a November trip to New York to examine the end of course, high school Regents exams, which are among the country's most rigorous. This comes at a time when Florida's state test, the FCAT, is undergoing serious scrutiny: many districts are questioning whether FCAT accurately assesses their high-school students (see here), and recent scoring glitches in the elementary grades haven't boosted confidence, either. But instead of tossing the accountability baby out with the bathwater, instead of decrying testing and all it stands for, Florida policymakers seem to be showing a willingness to make mid-course corrections. We'll raise our Mojitos to that.
"FCAT may face rival," by Ron Matus and Steve Bousquet, St. Petersburg Times, October 6, 2007