BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) (News App readers click here for full report) — The Florida Department of Education mandate that all students in grade 3 and higher take the FSA’s — in person — this Spring may be met by litigation.
BocaNewsNow.com has learned that there are discussions among special interest groups that may battle the FLDOE requirement, saying it’s still not safe for students to be forced to return to school to take a standardized test, en masse. The Palm Beach County School District itself is now on the cusp of 3000 COVID-19 cases, with more than half recorded since the start of the 2021 calendar year.
The Florida Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment on the FSA issue several days ago.
Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy Friday sent the following letter to parents in the school district. In it, he states that it’s unclear whether FSA’s will be tied to promotion or graduation. That suggests that parents may be able to opt their children out of the exam, even if the state says it’s mandatory. If there is no consequence — much like masking in Florida — a mandate means nothing.
Here’s the letter:
It has been my promise to stay connected with our families and communities as information and changes have been provided to the District that impacts teaching and learning. This update involves the latest developments regarding both the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) and student testing options for college-level courses.
FY21 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Updates
- Testing Window Extensions: The time extension provided by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) is intended to provide schools with extra testing days so that fewer children are on campus during assessments. The extension will ensure that schools maintain social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols to keep students and staff safe. The dates are now as follows:
- Grade 3 Reading and Grades 4 to 10 Writing: April 5 through April 30.
- Grades 3 to 6 Assessments and Grade 8 Science: May 3 through May 28.
- Grades 7 to 10 FSA and End-of-Course tests: May 3 through June 11.
- Remote Testing: FLDOE will NOT allow remote testing options for state assessments.
- Individual School Testing Procedures: Parents, your child’s school will provide additional information on its specific schedule and when your child will test. Again, parents will be notified by the individual school of their child’s dates and times for testing.
End of Course Exams, Third Grade Retention and Graduation Requirements
- End-of-Course Exams: FLDOE has not made a final decision on whether FSA and End-of-Course Exams (EOCs) will be used solely as diagnostic tools this year or calculated as in previous years for School Accountability Performance Measures.
- Student Grading and End-of-Course Exams: We are also awaiting a final decision on whether the state will refrain from tying EOCs to student grades.
- Mandatory Third Grade Retention (FSA): We are awaiting a final decision on whether retention-related decisions such as third-grade promotion and FY21 high school graduation requirements will be tied to state assessments.
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Advanced Placement Courses: College Board has provided schools some flexibility to help administer Advanced Placement tests while maintaining COVID safety protocols.
- AP Test Dates: AP tests will have three possible test dates, and most will be administered in school utilizing paper/computer or at home on a computer, depending on the test date.
- Languages Courses (AP): French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture, Latin, Music Theory, and Spanish Literature and Culture tests will only be administered in school. The College Board is not offering an at-home option for these tests.
- AP Testing at Individual Schools: Individual schools will inform AP students of the testing mode. Students who do not take a paper and pencil test will automatically default to one of the two digital options on the next available date. They can either take the test on a computer at school or a computer at home.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): Districts were given two options; an ‘exam route’ and a ‘non-exam route.’ The majority of Palm Beach County School District juniors and seniors in IB are taking part via Distance Learning. This is the rationale for the District’s decision to accept the non-exam route. Non-Exam Route for IB means students will not be required to go on campus to take a test. The IB grade will be based on Internal Assessments (IAs) students have completed as well as predicted grades.
Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)
- Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE): The current plan is to continue with in-person, on-campus exams in April through June 2021. Some COVID-based adjustments may be available for certain AICE test components, but full information has yet to be clarified by Cambridge. As such, the District is planning for AICE testing exclusively in-person, pending additional information from Cambridge.
We will continue to keep our families informed as the District receives further direction from the state. It is critical that we all maintain the support, services, and systems for teaching and learning to ensure our students are successful now and in future years.
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