For the first time in the 15-year history of school and district grades, Flagler County schools did not earn a single A in 2016. Officials are cautioning parents and students not to put too much stock in the results, which reflect a new but also tougher way to grade schools.
Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, is working on legislation that would allow schools to use tests other than the statewide standardized exams, which are used in some graduation and promotion decisions, teacher evaluations and school grades.
The rebuke comes after months of controversy about the new Florida Standards Assessment, which was plagued by technical problems this spring, including computer glitches and a cyberattack.
The study supported the use of the Florida Standards Assessment for school grades and teacher evaluations but said that “the FSA scores for some students will be suspect” because of the computer glitches.
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.
Pearson, the company scoring the Biology and US History end-of-course exams, has had a poor history of turning in its own work over the many years it’s administered standardized tests in Florida.
The Flagler district is immediately scrapping 28 end-of-course exams in kindergarten through 3rd grade for science, social studies and special areas, with more eliminations likely for higher grades next year as the district implements a new, more flexible state law.
The bill puts a hold on the use of student test data for school grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion to fourth grade until the new Florida Standards Assessments can be independently validated.
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.
The news came after the rollout for the new Florida Standards Assessment was plagued by slow logins and other technical glitches. The state paid $220 million for the tests over six years.