These students are looking to be promoted to 4th grade in Florida. Read their stories and decide who should begin 4th grade in the fall. Are you smart enough to promote a 3rd grader?
Student A reads at a 2nd grade level, has a learning disability that was identified in his former home state where he completed third grade, he just moved to Florida and will enroll in his local public school in the fall. Since he arrived in the summer, he has not taken the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).
Student B also has a documented reading deficiency, learning disability and ADHD. His grades have been good at his local private school, which he attends on a publicly funded McKay scholarship.
Student C reads at a first grade level but has never been evaluated for learning disabilities at his Florida public school. Tired of testing and test prep, his parents had him minimally participate in the Florida Standards Assessment and the SAT10. They will enroll him in a local private school this fall.
Student D has attended a local private school using a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship since 1st grade. His teachers say he is doing fine, his grades are good, but he has never been evaluated with any state mandated assessments.
Student E attends his local public school and has a documented reading deficiency for which he is assigned 30 minutes on iReady each day as remediation. Last year, he failed the FSA (was in the bottom quintile) and was retained. This year, he was absent during state testing and he refused to answer questions during retakes.
Student F had a difficult 3rd grade year. He failed almost all his classes but he, to his teacher’s amazement, scored a 2 on his FSA.
Student G attends his local public school. He has straight As in his gifted classroom. At the beginning of the school year, his progress monitoring assessment showed he read at a 9th grade level. He won the Perfect Attendance Award. Tired of incessant test prep, his parents had him minimally participate in the Florida Standards Assessment and the SAT10. He plans to stay at the local public school he attends with his 2 siblings.
Who should be promoted to 4th grade this fall?
The answer is: it depends… what county do you live in?
If you live in Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Hillsborough, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, or Putnam, ALL children would go on to 4th grade.
However, if you live in Duval, Orange, Seminole, St. Johns, Sarasota or St Lucie, ALL students are promoted EXCEPT Student G. Student G, despite having a documented reading ability well above grade level, will be required to repeat 3rd grade. Currently, gifted, proficient children, who minimally participated in the FSA, are being retained while non-proficient children, even some who minimally participated in the FSA, will go on to 4th grade. Student E, who underperforms in all areas and refused state testing, qualifies for promotion due to state statute that forbids mandatory retention twice.
Were you smart enough to promote a 3rd grader?
It’s a trick question, because the retention of proficient students is, frankly, stupid. Clearly, the retention of proficient students who minimally participated in the 3rd grade FSA is punitive and meant to ensure compliance with mandated testing. The real question is who is directing the retaliations, I mean retentions?
Last year, during the Keep Florida Learning committee meetings, Commissioner Pam Stewart insisted the DOE does not punish students.
If the FLDOE does not punish students, then why aren’t they stopping this abusive practice? Who is directing the retention of proficient 3rd graders and why aren’t educators in non-retention counties speaking out against these abuses? What did all 67 of Florida’s superintendents mean, last fall, when they unanimously declared they had lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of the State of Florida? Why aren’t we hearing protests from the thousands of teachers who converged on Tallahassee, last January, to protest high-stakes testing and other statewide education policies they claimed were harming students?