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Florida Advances Bill to Substitute SAT, ACT for State Tests

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The Florida legislature has given one more green light to a bill that would allow school districts to use the SAT or ACT instead of the Florida Standards Assessment in high school.

Senate Bill 1360 unanimously cleared the state Senate's appropriations committee on Tuesday. The measure now comes before the full Senate, which concludes its session on March 11.

Sen. Don Gaetz, who sponsored the bill, says he wants schools to have a choice between the FSA, which was designed to reflect the Common Core State Standards, and the college-entrance exams. The measure would allow school districts to substitute "rigorous alternative assessments" for the FSA, beginning in 2016-17.

They could choose the ACT Aspire, for instance, in grades 3-8, or the PSAT, SAT or ACT in high school. In districts that offer those choices, parents would let their schools know which assessment they've chosen for their child.

Pam Stewart, the state's education commissioner, has expressed reservations about the bill because the two national college entrance exams don't fully reflect the common core, which Florida adopted.

As we've reported to you, that alignment question is arising more often, as states increasingly choose the SAT or ACT as their high school test. We've also reported on questions about whether students with disabilities are being put at a disadvantage on those state-mandated college-entrance exams, since some of them are unable to get the testing accommodations they're used to.

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