Florida’s testing bill, HB 7069, was signed into law by Gov. Scott during week 7 of the 2015 session.
The law address some issues raised by districts, teachers and parents, which is good. The fact remains that the law does not go far enough. Most of Florida’s standardized tests and the rules used to punish students, teachers and schools remain intact. That said, public education advocates have made an impact regarding Florida standardized testing and HB 7069 reflects that.
What HB 7069 did not change:
- Florida statewide high stakes tests will still be administered in grades three through 10.
- Test scores still will be used for calculating school grades.
- Teacher evaluations will be based in part on test scores
- Third graders are still subject to mandatory retention based on test scores
- High school students will be denied diplomas based on scores from 10th grade state reading tests and the end-of-course Algebra 1 exam
- Timing of the test still disrupts learning and the results are not available early enough to inform teachers and parents
What HB 7069 alters:
- Results of diagnostic tests, not standardized tests will be returned to schools and parents within 30 days.
- Results of standardized tests due by the end of the school year
- Caps total testing time for state and locally required tests to 45 hours or 5% of the school year
- Reduces testing by eliminating requirement for district-wide exams for non-state assessed courses/subjects
- Frees districts from the requirement to perform progress monitoring/additional testing
- Affirms Gov. Scott’s executive order to eliminate the 11th grade FSA for English/Language Arts
- Eliminates requirement for certain 11th grade students to take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT)
- Allows districts the flexibility to decide how best to remediate middle and high school students. In addition to remedial classes, districts can now choose options such as tutoring and summer classes.
- Requires independent verification of the psychometric validity of results before they are used to evaluate teachers or publish school grades.
- Teacher evaluations: Reduces impact of standardized test scores from 50% to 33%
- The 2014 FCAT test results will be linked to the 2015 FSA until its validity is established. This will ensure that the same number of 1s will occur regardless of student performance on the new test. The same process is in place for 10th grade ELA FSA and the Algebra 1 EOC. Six good cause exemptions remain for third grade and ACT, SAT and PERT concordant scores remain for high school.
HB 7069 leaves technology concerns out:
The final version of the bill curiously passed without addressing technology or the critical infrastructure Florida needs to successfully administer computer –based assessments. Concerns such as minimizing loss of instruction time or displacing students from computer classes during the testing window were left unaddressed.
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