Florida parents unite, challenge standardized testing
Despite good marks, some third-graders are held back because they didn't take assessment exams.
In Florida, some third-graders – including honor students – are being forced to retake third grade because their parents decided to opt them out of the state’s mandated standardized reading test this past spring.
An undetermined number of third-graders who refused to take the Florida Standards Assessment in reading have been barred from moving to fourth grade in some counties. A lawsuit filed by parents against state education officials as well as school boards in seven counties says counties are interpreting the state’s third-grade retention law so differently that the process has become unfair. Test participation, therefore, is more important than student class academic achievement.
On Friday, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers held a hearing in the suit about the third-grade retention law, which was passed years ago, when Jeb Bush was governor and at a time when there was no movement among parents to opt their children out of standardized tests. Now the opt-out movement is growing, and officials in Florida as well in other states are trying to figure out how to handle students who won’t take mandated standardized tests. It is unclear how many students in Florida opted out of the 2016 test.
Gievers said she may rule as early as next week in the suit, which was brought by parents against Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, the State Board of Education, and the school boards in Orange, Hernando, Osceola, Sarasota, Pasco, Broward and Seminole counties. Other counties in Florida did not interpret the law to mean that students had to be retained if they didn’t take the test, and the Florida Department of Education has said it never mandated that students be held back if Florida parents unite, challenge standardized testing - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram: