Thursday, October 13, 2016

Election 2016: Standardized Testing "Opt-Out" Movement Spills Into Florida | WUSF News

Election 2016: Standardized Testing "Opt-Out" Movement Spills Into Florida | WUSF News:

Election 2016: Standardized Testing "Opt-Out" Movement Spills Into Florida

Third-graders Hailey Everett, Maddison Hohman, and Madelynn Kinkade were not promoted to fourth grade, despite receiving all A's and B's on their report cards at Chocachatti Elementary School in Brooksville.
Third-graders Hailey Everett, Maddison Hohman, and Madelynn Kinkade were not promoted to fourth grade, despite receiving all A's and B's on their report cards at Chocachatti Elementary School in Brooksville.
MELINDA HOHMAN

The day before school let out in May, 9-year old Hailey Everett brought home a certificate for making the honor roll at Chocachatti Elementary School in Hernando County.  The next day, her grandmother and guardian Pam Everett got a call from the school's principal telling her Hailey would not be promoted to fourth grade.
"My jaw hit the floor. I mean I couldn't believe it," she said. "Here's this student that was two grades above her reading level, and then to tell me they're going to retain because [of] no score?"
Hailey had no score on the Florida Standards Assessment  because her grandmother told her not to take the test. She broke the seal on the exam and signed her name to it, however, and Everett says that means her granddaughter participated in the test, as the state requires.
Opt-Out Protest Goes To Court
Each spring, third graders in the state's public schools must take the Florida Standards Assessment, or FSA. Students who fail this standardized reading test can be held back.
Everett and thirteen other plaintiffs from seven counties have filed a lawsuit saying their kids were wrongly retained because they “opted out” of completing the test.
State law says schools may consider things besides the FSA, like teacher assessments and good report cards. But some districts interpret the law to mean no test score, no promotion.
In August, a Leon County Judge sided with the plaintiffs, but several school districts appealed, leaving opt-out students in limbo and angering parents like Brandy Paternoster in Weston. The Broward County parent testified in September before the district’s School Board.
"Let me clear,” she told the board. “I will not go quietly into the night. I stand here for our teachers. I stand here for my children, for all the children. They are more than a test score."
The mother's plea was effective. In late September, Broward dropped its appeal. Paternoster’s nine-year old twins are now fourth graders. Sarasota County schools also dropped out of the case, so the number of school districts fighting the ruling is down to five.
Debate Over Opt-Out Becomes An Election Issue
Criticism over mandated testing has grown for years, but proponents say the assessments catch students who fall behind in time to help them.
"Students who are not reading proficiently in third grade are four times more likely Election 2016: Standardized Testing "Opt-Out" Movement Spills Into Florida | WUSF News:


Big Education Ape: A WIN for Education in Florida Today! | THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-win-for-education-in-florida-today.html

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