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ERIC Number: ED561922
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Florida and Tennessee: Accountability in Civic Education
Delander, Brady
Education Commission of the States
While most states require testing in social studies or civic education, two states attach consequences for students and schools based on required statewide civics exams. Lawmakers in Florida, in 2010, and in Tennessee, in 2012, approved legislation that holds students accountable for their civics knowledge. Students are taking the tests for the first time this school year. The two states' approaches to accountability in civic education are very different. This paper provides a brief overview of the diverse methods--Tennessee is using project-based exams while Florida is administering tests worth nearly a third of a student's course grade. State leaders say both approaches are intended to emphasize the importance of civic knowledge. Florida's approach to civics testing mirrors its approach to assessments in other academic areas such as language arts and science. The law initially required middle school students to take a civics course, and then pass the civics test, in order to be promoted to high school. Now, the test counts as 30 percent of the student's total grade in the course, which must be passed to advance to high school. In Tennessee, the test is project-based--the first of its kind in the country in civics. It moves students away from pencil-and-paper standardized tests and toward hands-on assessments that, ideally, engage the students in meaningful, real-world situations. Students will be assessed at least once in grades 4 through 8 and at least once again in high school, grades 9 through 12. [This report is the first in a series of reports examining state initiatives related to civic education. For the other reports: "States Address Civics with Mandated Task Forces," see ED561924; "Florida and Illinois: Civics Initiatives, No Law Required," see ED561917; "Advancing Civic Learning with Administrative Authority," see ED561911; "Different Paths to a Common Goal: Preparing Students for Civic Life," see ED561954; and "Secretaries of State Make Impact, Lasting Impression in Civics," see ED561941.]
Education Commission of the States. ECS Distribution Center, 700 Broadway Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203-3460. Tel: 303-299-3692; Fax: 303-296-8332; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9; Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States; National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE)
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Tennessee