The parents of the students involved in the case told their children to “minimally participate” in the Florida Standards Assessment for third grade by filling in their names, breaking the seals on the tests and then refusing to answer any questions.
The proportion of students who scored a 3 or better (out of 5)–that is, students who are proficient in English at their grade level–also improved, from 60 percent to 63 percent.
In grade 5 science, the district’s ranking fell from 28 to 36 in the state, while 8th graders improved their science ranking significantly, from 28 to 15. High school history rankings slipped to 19th, from 8th last year.
The proposal calls for suspending the language-arts test for 3rd graders until the state’s new Florida Standards Assessments are found to be valid by an independent examination.
Stewart recommended that the state get rid of a language-arts test students take in 11th grade, eliminating some final exams and making optional a college readiness test.
The bill would authorize districts to use something other than tests to assess students in some courses, revamp laws tying teachers’ evaluations and pay more closely to student performance.
With parents complaining about a glut of tests in public schools and the Florida Department of Education investigating how much time students spend on exams, senators appear ready to refocus how the state assesses learning gains.
The drop was especially pronounced at Flagler Palm Coast High School, where this year’s 259 seniors who took the test scored seven points lower than last year in both reading and writing, and 14 points lower in math. Over five years, FPC’s math score has tumbled 39 points, its reading score 27 points, its writing score 21 points.
A-rated schools included Bunnell, Rymfire, Old Kings, Wadsworth and Belle Terre elementaries, along with Indian Trails Middle and Palm Harbor, the charter school that just two years ago was failing. The district will earn several hundred thousand dollars in bonuses.
Overall, Flagler students improved their rankings in Florida in 12 categories while dropping back in seven, providing many bright spots but also a few worrisome ones.