Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Some Statewide Exams Will Be Left out of Grades

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Some Statewide Exams Will Be Left out of Grades

Article excerpt

SARASOTA COUNTY: Thanks to legislation, schools will give the tests less weight


Superintendent Lori White said the Sarasota County School District will not use some End of Course exam scores in determining student grades and will not solely use the Florida Standards Assessment to determine if third-graders can be promoted to fourth grade.

The announcement followed the Florida Department of Education's conclusion Monday that districts do not have to use End of Course exam scores in Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry for student grades. The scores would have made up 30 percent of students' final grades in those subjects.

It's the latest in a wave of changes from HB 7069, which became law in April. It requires an independent verification of the validity of the Florida Standards Assessment and its End of Course exams prior to use for student grades, school grades and educator evaluations.

School districts also will not get student scores for those tests until fall, which would have further complicated using the scores to calculate student grades and GPAs. The Department of Education said school districts could retroactively go back into students grades and use the waived End of Course exams to recalculate student grades.

White, speaking at the Sarasota County School Board's monthly workshop, said the district would not change grades after-the-fact.

"We will not do any recalculation later; this will be the final grade used for the GPA, and we will move forward," White said. "But those EOCs where we do get results, we will do a calculation as required by law of 30 percent (of students' grades), but we will get those scores in June, which is more reasonable."

School districts are still required to use scores of the End of Course exams in Civics, Biology I and U.S. History for student grades, teacher evaluations and school grades.

Those grades will be added to student course grades in the summer.

The biggest benefit may come for third-graders.

Florida Standards Assessment scores were supposed to determine whether a third-grade student is eligible to enter fourth grade the next year. Typically, students whose scores are among the 19 percent of lowest-performing students in the state are held back another school year. …

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