PBC educators report progress with controversial testing program

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - A slew of principals and teachers of Palm Beach County schools went before a school district workshop Wednesday. They talked about a controversial new testing program, yet there were no heated moments at this meeting.

New chief academic officer Jeffrey Hernandez introduced the much-talked about embedded assessment program or recurring tests to assess student achievement.

Many parents and teachers had criticized the testing calling it a one-size fits all approach. A wave of protests and backlash forced Hernandez to scale back his plan. Advanced placement and International Baccalaureate students are now exempt from the testing.

The program, however, is still ongoing for most students, yet principals and teachers hand-picked to speak before the board Wednesday said it's working.

"This is something that has always been there. We have called it common assessments. For me it's working beautifully as we have seen an increase in diagnostic scores," said Marvin Beach a language arts teacher at JFK Middle School in Riviera Beach.

In other board action, members voted to approve the graduation venue for the next three years for about 20 county high schools.

Most of the graduations from the bigger high schools will take place at the Palm Beach County Convention Center even though it will cost more than the South Florida Fairgrounds -- as much as $95,000 according to published reports.

Board members say the convention center is a more dignified setting for high school graduations.