Big Changes Coming to FCAT Grading Calculations
The State Department of Education (DOE) is preparing to bring big changes to grading calculations on the FCAT test. These proposed changes will take effect with this year's test.
Though we support the DOE's push to prepare Florida's students for an increasingly competitive global economy where access to a world-class public education is essential to secure higher-paying jobs or preparation for college, our concern lies in how quickly we look to get there.
Proficiency "F Trigger"
The proposed rule includes a reading proficiency requirement of 25%. If not met, the school would generate an automatic "F" grade. This proposal would target schools that serve some of our state's most vulnerable students. Our urban core, or economically disadvantaged and demographically diverse populations, will be most affected. The "trigger" ensures that particular schools will never earn a school grade higher than a "D" or "F".
Including Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and Second Year English Language Learners (EEL) Students in School Grade Calculations
Florida PTA is concerned that the proposed rule contradicts research-based evidence that demonstrates one year is insufficient for a child to acquire native language proficiency. The rule, as currently written, assumes that a student with two years of fewer of English language instruction is expected to test on par with a native language speaker. In fact, Stanford University concluded that it would take ELL students three to five years to develop oral proficiency in English and four to seven years to develop academic English proficiency. This challenge is particularly relevant to schools in the urban core.
Linking Performance of ESE Centers and Alternative Schools to Students' Home Schools
ESE Centers and alternative schools are designed to provide targeted and specific instruction and support to address the unique needs of students. This proposal assumes that students served by these schools belong in traditional schools. This assumption undermines the need to provide special services to select students. No school or educator should be held accountable for the performance of a student who is not educated by that school or educator.
The state Department of Education will hold it's next meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7:30am in Tallahassee, FL.
WE ASK: Are our students and our schools being set up to fail? Is this "quantum leap" forward going to do more harm than good?
TAKE ACTION and share your concerns with members of
the State Board of Education. CALL (850)245-9661 and ask to speak with:
Ms. Kathleen Shanahan, Chair
Mr. Roberto Martinez, Vice Chair
Ms. Sally Bradshaw
Mr. Gary Chartrand
Dr. Akshay Desai
Ms. Barbara Feingold
Mr. John Padget