9 Investigates: State plan means testing of kindergarten students

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

9 Investigates uncovered a new plan that forces kindergarteners to take final exams.
           
Channel 9's Lori Brown found out that the state is requiring districts to develop tests for every subject taught in kindergarten.
 
The state law requires Orange County to develop 15 different tests for kindergarteners.
           
The subjects 5-year-olds will be tested on will range from physical education to art.
 
Most kindergarteners will be required to take seven of the tests.
 
"Turning a child into a test taking minion at the age of 6 or 7 is not good for a child," said parent Kathleen Oropeza.
 
Oropeza is the leader of the grassroots movement Fund Education Now believes kindergarten is too soon to put children through multiple tests.
 
"We don't want to see them held back or deemed a failure by the state when they might be performing just fine in their classroom," said Oropeza.
 
State Sen. David Simmons, a member of the education committee, said the tests will determine if a student knows his colors and ABCs.
 
"These are not SATs or ACTs for kindergarteners. These are appropriate assessments," said Simmons.
 
Currently it is up to each district to decide if the tests will be used to determine a student's grade.
 
The Department of Education said the data is only for the district's use.
 
"For us to assure that schools do their jobs we can only test. If you don't test, you don't care," said Simmons.
 
But Oropeza said kindergarten is too soon to use tests to label children.
 
Orange County Public Schools is still deciding if how children perform on the tests will impact their grades and their ability to move on to first grade.