Florida Superintendents Unhappy With Standardized Test

Courtsey  patch.com

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) stated they “have lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of the State of Florida.”

Their upset comes after a Florida Department of Education (FDE) independent Alpine review of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).

According to a press release by Leon County Schools (LCS), Alpine reports problems with the test administration.

LCS Superintendent, Jackie Pons, in a press conference earlier this month explained some of the issues Tallahassee students faced while taking the FSA this year.

“All along we heard throughout that state that when students would log in to take this test they were being bumped off,” said Pons. “We had some students that waited 45 minutes to an hour to take this test, and we knew all along that that would effect the results of it.”

The Alpine review, which was released in early September, stated:

“The precise magnitude of the problem is difficult to gauge with 100 percent accuracy, but the evaluation team can reasonably state that the spring 2015 administration of the FSA did not meet the normal rigor and standardization expected with a high-stakes assessment program like the FSA.”

Due to these inconsistencies, many are trying to determine how the test results should affect students, teachers and schools.

Pam Stewart, the education commissioner, released passing scores recommendations on Monday for the FSA. She says it is all about preparing students for a bright future.

“These recommendations are in line with the performance we should expect from our state’s students at each grade level for each subject in order to prepare today’s students for future success,” said Stewart in a Department of Education press release.

FADSS also has recommendations, which include suspending results and issuing incomplete scores for any schools with limited and flawed data. They also called for an extensive review of the accountability system as a whole.

Dr. Cassandra Poole, assistant principal and testing coordinator at DeSoto Trail Elementary School in Tallahassee worries that with such major testing flaws, the state must now choose carefully how to proceed.  She says it will put a lot of things behind.

“I think there were areas that should have been addressed before the administering of the test,” said Poole. “This is the first year the test has been given, so the state is going to use this as a basis to compare with next year’s results.”

Many are frustrated because there is no method of comparing these first year results with the state’s previous test, the FCAT.

Poole stated she was concerned about a test that relies so heavily on technology and the Internet.

For some schools, the fact that their students have less exposure to technology is just another challenge when transitioning to the new test.

Preliminary test results were released Wednesday, but are limited. Students can find out how they scored compared to other same-grade students in the state. Administrators also found out their “t-scores” which rank their school against others in the state.