Third-graders, without FSA, retained despite good grades

Students held back because of testing

Parents who chose to opt out their child from the state’s Florida Standards Assessment testing may have done so at a cost. The test is mandatory for third-graders that means no promotion to fourth grade.

Some parents say their child’s grades should be enough.

Wendy Chastain’s says her son Aidan is a good student -- all As, Bs and a C.

“This is his report card. You can see here in language arts part they are concerned with B,B,B,” says Chastain.

A B is above average but Chastain says apparently the grade isn’t enough. She says, “All that matters is this one test.”

The Florida Standards Assessment testing is mandatory in Florida regardless of a student’s reading proficiency and a third-grader who doesn’t test doesn’t move on to fourth grade.

Click here for more info on Florida Standards Assessment

Chastain says no one with the school told her retention would be a consequence.

Shannon Adkins says she didn’t know either.

Adkins says, “We were told plain and simply he is being retained because he opted out of the FSA.”  Adkins says her son, who received a C grade in reading, is not deficient in the subject according to a school district administrator and his principal.

The sons of Adkins and Chastain opted out of the test. Both mothers say their boys have test anxiety.

Chastain says her son has a medical condition. She says, “He has severe anxiety, has PTSD panics when he takes tests.” Bryce was not in school during the testing.

Click here to see number of third-graders who did not meet attemptedness requirement

Adkins's son Aidan minimally participated. She says, “He went to school broke the seal, signed his name to show he is willing to participate.” But Aidan did not answer any questions.

Ninety-five percent of a school’s students need to test to receive a school grade and extra funding. Student test results also impact a teacher’s evaluation.

Adkins says, “I don’t feel it’s my child’s responsibility to hire or fire a teacher.”   

 Sarasota School District released the following statement:

"According to Florida Department of Education requirements and state statute, Florida Standards Assessment testing is mandatory at all grade levels. In grade three, regardless of whether a student has a reading deficiency or not, the student must pass the grade three FSA English Language Arts assessment, an alternate assessment measure, the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-10) or receive a good-cause exemption to be promoted to grade four. A child in grade three in 2015-16 who does not meet one of these requirements will be enrolled again in grade three in August 2016. In Sarasota County, he or she may be able for promotion to grade four after completing the grade three portfolio on or before Nov. 1, 2016.

"Our district has sought clarification on this requirement several times. Just this week, a Florida DOE official spoke to state school superintendents on a conference call and supported this information that the Sarasota County School District has been providing to schools and parents."

Instead of the FSA, students can take an alternative test to be promoted -- such as the SAT10 -- and be considered for a good cause exemption, but either way, a test is required.

Adkins says, “I don’t think our child should be punished based on one test.”

Her son Bryce opted for one of the alternatives a portfolio composed of 12 mini reading comprehension tests.

Chastain is not sure what her next step will be.

 


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