9 Investigates: Senator says kindergarten testing law misinterpreted



ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates first showed on Monday how school districts across central Florida were preparing multiple final exams for kindergarteners. Now, a state senator said the new law is being misinterpreted, and Channel 9's Lori Brown learned those young students may not have to take all of the tests.

As Monday's story started to create a national conversation about high-stakes testing, Sen. David Simmons told Brown the new law is being misinterpreted, and he's now working to clear things up.

The law says school districts must measure student performance in all subjects and all grade levels, but it doesn't exclude kindergarten.

Orange County Public Schools said supervisors with the Florida Department of Education required them to prepare assessments for every subject in kindergarten, which meant preparing 15 exams for 5- and 6-year-olds. Most students would receive seven of the tests.

Other central Florida districts confirmed they also prepared multiple tests for kindergarteners citing the requirement in the new law.

But after Brown's story ran, Simmons said that's not what was meant, and he called the DOE to tell them so.

"I do thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention," said Simmons. "I think it's extremely important that common sense and rationality prevail. When we're talking about: an assessment. We're talking about one or more assessments adopted by a school district using common sense and good judgment."

Simmons said all that the law requires is for a teacher to sit down with a kindergartener and ask about what he or she learned.

"To assure each one of those children is helped, that we know what the deficits are in each child, so we can address the deficits," said Simmons.