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Politics

Vendor Selection for Reviewing Assessment Test Begins to Take Shape

May 4, 2015 - 6:00pm

The panel responsible for selecting a third-party vendor to review Floridas controversial Florida Standards Assessment test began to form Wednesday, with House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, making a contribution by nominating Flagler College Chancellor Dr. William Bill Proctor to serve on the committee.

[Proctors] experience in the field of education makes him a fine choice for this position, and I look forward to receiving his input as he helps to guide this panel, said Crisafulli on Proctors selection.

Proctor, 82, served as president of liberal arts institution Flagler College for 30 years before he became chancellor. He was appointed to the Board of Education by Governor Bush and was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004. While a state representative, Proctor chaired the State Education Committee. He served in the House until 2012.

Proctor will join St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Joe Joyner (chosen by Gov. Rick Scott) and another panel member to select an independent vendor who will be responsible for determining whether the FSA is a valid assessment test.

The panel is the result of a newly passed education overhaul law which requires Crisafulli, Senate President Andy Gardiner and Gov. Rick Scott to each select a representative to choose an independent vendor to determine the tests validity. Gardiner has yet to name his selection for the panel.

The vendors final verdict could have big consequences for Florida school grades: until the FSA is found to be properly administered and written, students who have already taken the test wont get their results.

That means students could be waiting nearly eight months before they receive their test results.

"I have concerns with us moving forward with data before it is validated," Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart told the State Board of Education.

The new law mandates the vendor considers the national reputation and length of establishment of the vendor, the experience and expertise of the independent entity in validating such data as well as the use of professional standards, codes and guidelines that address applicable practices in the profession, such as the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

The push for an independent vendor comes after a rocky roll-out of the FSA. Testing administration was temporarily delayed in March and in April after students couldnt complete or log onto the test due to technical malfunctions.

The Florida Department of Education blamed the first wave of issues on a cyber attack on the FSA testing server and said the second round of problems was due to unauthorized changes from the test vendor, American Institutes for Research.

The panel has until June 1 to select a vendor to review the assessment test. Once the panel selects a vendor, the FDOE must immediately contract with the independent entity to verify the test. Verification of the tests validity must be completed by Sept. 1.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

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