Too Many Unanswered Questions Cause Concern About School Grades
On September 1st, the Florida Department of Education released the Florida Standards Assessment validity study, conducted by Alpine Testing Solutions and edCount. The DOE press release announcing results of the study contained this headline: “Independent Review Confirms Florida Standards Assessment is Valid.”
I have tried, but I can’t find any reasonable interpretation of this study that would lead me to that conclusion. There were too many concerns noted in the report for me to accept that the review concluded the test was valid. In fact, the executive summary explicitly states that “it is not feasible to arrive at a simple Yes/No decision when it comes to the question ‘Is the test score valid?’”
I firmly believe in accountability. Students should be tested on their mastery of standards and student performance should be a factor in teacher evaluations. It is equally important that school boards and superintendents should be held accountable for the performance of their students and staff. I also want it to be clear that we do not support students opting out of the exam, and we have no intention of ignoring Florida’s laws related to the Florida Standards or the Florida Standards Assessment.
What I don’t support is using the results of an exam to grade schools and evaluate teachers that an independent review deemed “should not be used as a sole determinant in decisions such as the prevention of advancement to the next grade, graduation eligibility, or placement into a remedial course.” Even when addressing the use of scores on an aggregate level (school grades and teacher evaluations), the reviewers were not definitive, saying “it is likely that aggregate level use would be appropriate.”
The review of the test’s administration concludes: “The precise magnitude of the problems is difficult to gauge with 100% accuracy, but the evaluation team can reasonably state that the spring 2015 administration of the FSA did not meet the normal rigor and standardization expected with a high stakes assessment program like the FSA.”
In Pasco, we had students who were prepared to take the exam but couldn’t log on. Others were logged out while taking the exam and could not log back in to complete the exam until much later. Some completed it the next day, which was unfair to them and to other students.
Furthermore, the review stated all of the following:
These are the reasons that I have little confidence in this year’s FSA results and the corresponding school grades that will be released this fall. Regardless of our students' performance results, there is too much uncertainty about the test and its administration for me to feel comfortable with the use of the results for any high-stakes reason.
Until the DOE performs all of the adjustments necessary for a truly valid and reliable FSA that properly assesses students’ grasp of the Florida Standards, I encourage parents and students to use caution in their interpretation of this year’s test scores and school grades.
The Pasco School Board and I remain committed to working with the Florida Legislature to further strengthen our accountability system. Florida’s future depends on an accountability system and assessment that accurately measure student mastery of standards and determine whether teachers are adequately preparing them for success. These steps will renew the public’s confidence in Florida’s system of public school accountability.
Showing up for school and on time has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job.
For more information visit www.attendanceworks.org.
Participate in Dads Take Your Child To School Day on September 30th.
Pasco Schools is partnering with Healthy Schools LLC to provide flu mist vaccines to students, with parental consent. Healthy Schools LLC works with the county health department and the school district to provide no-cost flu vaccinations at schools. Qualified health professionals administer the inhaled influenza vaccines, which are safe, do not contain preservatives, and do not cause recipients to contract the flu. For more information, please click here. To download the consent form or to see the vaccination schedule, visit this page.
The Exceptional Student Education (ESE) District Advisory Committee is composed of parents, teachers, administrators, and community representatives interested in current ESE initiatives and improving overall quality of ESE services. The committee meets four times during this school year to discuss various topics related to ESE: October 7, 2015; and January 27, March 2, and May 11, 2016, at Odessa Elementary School’s media center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Limited childcare is available and registration is required. For more information email Nina Gregory, FDLRS Resource Teacher, or call her at 727-774-2630.
International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.
This is a special opportunity for you to visit the public school of your choice and share information about your profession, hobbies, or interests with the next generation. To register, please contact individual schools.
The Florida Department of Education created the Just Take 20 campaign to provide K-12 Florida families with practical, easy-to-implement reading activities that establish literacy as a lifelong value. Just Take 20 encourages families to seize everyday teachable moments by using 20 minutes a day to integrate reading into their busy lives. Families are invited to create their own custom literacy plans and have fun while learning! Click here to learn more.
Please visit this page for more information.
Pasco County government has extended an invitation to Pasco County students and staff who may be interested in learning more about their County Government to apply for the Citizens’ Academy.
Parents are invited to a webinar for parents on strategies to prevent substance use. Click here to register.
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