By Pam Stewart, Commissioner of Education
I hope each one of you had a restful spring break. Although it is an exciting time to be an educator, the many changes Florida has implemented during the past few years to improve student outcomes can sometimes seem extensive.
Last week we announced that the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was selected to develop Florida’s new statewide assessments for the next school year. I chose AIR because I believe that it is the best option for Florida’s students.
I’ve met with countless Florida educators who have asked that our new tests provide a more authentic assessment of our students’ grasp of the Florida Standards. Just as you are employing interactive activities to boost student learning in your classrooms, I believe we need an assessment that allows students to write and respond in non-traditional methods.
This test will focus less on finding the right answer and more on demonstrating higher order thinking skills. You have my commitment that students, educators and parents will be able to preview samples of new question types by taking practice tests that will be made available for anyone interested in reviewing them.
We have already received several questions from Florida educators regarding specific aspects of the assessment, and I encourage you to continue to email us your questions. You are the best advocate for your students, and I am grateful for your tremendous efforts to prepare your students for success, both inside and outside the classroom.