Lee Co. superintendent addresses high-stakes tests with state board members

Author: sam smink
Published: Updated:

TAMPA, Fla.- Could Lee County students see even fewer high-stakes tests? Thursday, Lee County Superintendent Nancy Graham told statewide school leaders that it’s time for a change.

Dr. Graham says high-stakes testing is a statewide issue, not just a Lee County problem.

“It is a web,” said Graham, “It’s intricately connected in every area of your district.”

She shared Lee County’s experience with state-mandated tests to a standing room only of school board members from across the state.

“You are going to have to decide as leaders, what do you really want to go after in this session,” said Graham.

The Lee County School Board opted out of high-stakes testing earlier this year, only to vote back in one week later.

“It’s really about informing instruction, that’s what assessment is supposed to be about. What it has become, is a way for us to make judgments and that’s what’s gotten complicated and I believe that’s what is hurting us.”

When asked by the room of school board members, Dr. Graham said she thinks parts of the state’s accountability for school districts has become punitive.

“So many things about it are high stakes; teacher pay, student graduation, student promotion.”

She stresses it’s a statewide issue, board members and educators have to find a way to win for everyone.

Dr. Graham tells WINK News next Wednesday, the school board will be meeting to discuss how to approach local legislators on the issue of high-stakes testing.

She also says legislators are the only ones at this point that can have true impact on the accountability system.

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