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Politics

State: Math End-of-Course Tests Won't Count Toward Final Grades

May 18, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Florida Department of Education shook up the way grades will be calculated this year after announcing Tuesday that end-of-course assessments would not count toward students individual grades.

Because the state will not have completed a validity test for the statewide exams before they are given, several mathematics courses will not count for final grades. The announcement will affect any student taking the algebra I and II and geometry EOC assessment test as well as third-graders.

State officials said the results of the validity test wont be available until September, several months after students will take the EOC tests.

Typically, results from EOC assessments would count toward 30 percent of a students final grade, but students wont be penalized this year if their grade goes down as a result of their performance on the test.

Not all subjects will be omitted from final grades, however -- end-of-course results in biology 1, U.S. history and civics will still count for 30 percent of a students final grade, according to the state.

The state said districts could retroactively apply the mathematics grades, but several districts have decided they wont be doing so.

Although the state allows districts to retroactively apply algebra 1, algebra 2 and geometry end-of-course results to students final grades, I shall not do so, said Miami-Dade SuperintendentAlberto M. Carvalho. I fully trust the judgment of our teachers, and our students need to be scheduled for the 2015-16 school year.

"In other words, we will not allow the results of one single test to determine the future of students," said Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie."Our district will always do what's in the best interest of our students and our families."

Some school districts have already gotten rid of end-of-course assessments.Miami-Dade, Leon and Alachua are just a few that have decided to slash the EOC tests.

Tuesday's announcement comes after a year full of testing problems in Floridas schools and huge changes made to statewide testing during this years legislative session.

Floridas newest assessment test, the Florida Standards Assessment, was plagued with technical malfunctions during its administration in schools this spring. Server errors left thousands of students unable to complete or log into the test, prompting harsh criticisms that the state was not prepared for the FSA.

Lawmakers passed a lengthy bill restricting testing statewide, partially as a result of this year's problematic FSA roll-out. On top of limiting testing time, the newly passed law requires an independent entity to verify the FSA to make sure its a valid assessment test.

The panel has already met once this month to determine which company will perform the validation and expects to make a decision by May 29. The validation study must be completed by Sept. 1.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Taitter: @AllisonNielsen

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