Confusion Over Student Final Grades


The Florida Department of Education announced Monday that the delay caused by the required validation study of the new Florida Standards Assessments end-of-course tests (FSA EOCs) in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II effectively releases districts from the requirement that these scores constitute 30 percent of the course grade for students in these classes. This announcement grants Florida school districts, including the Monroe County Schools, to locally determine how the results of these state required EOC’s will be used in calculating final grades for students.

For the 2014-2015 school year, in accordance with the directive of the FDOE, students in these FSA EOC classes will receive final grades based on their year-long evidence of learning in the course. The district will continue plans to analyze the results of the assessment and will allow students to benefit from the results if the use of their score results in their grade improving. Once the scores are received and analyzed, all students will have their score factored into their course grade as 30 percent. If a student’s grade improves they will be issued a new report card in the fall. If a student’s grade remains the same or drops the score will be ignored and their current grade will be allowed to stand. “This change reflects a common sense solution to a problem created by the implementation of the new assessments,” states Superintendent Mark T. Porter, “While students will be effectively held harmless by these non-field tested results, we will still take a close look at the results to determine our success or areas to improve upon in terms of teaching to the new more rigorous standards.”

Currently, Florida Statute 1003.4282 requires that state developed EOCs constitute 30 percent of the overall grade for the subjects where students are required to take them (Middle School Civics, Biology, United States History, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II). However, this year, the EOC’s in mathematics were newly developed and were administered for the first time across the state. Recent legislative changes created a requirement that the results of these tests must undergo a validity study prior to being reported to districts or students, and before being used in the school grading process.

The required validation study is not predicted to be complete until September, thus creating an extended delay in the release of the student scores and calculation of true final grades. Decisions regarding course credit, graduation requirement, course grades, and grade level promotion all depend on final grades being available as the school year closes. For these reasons the decision to waive the 30 percent requirement for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II was made so schools could make these decisions in a timely manner. The change does not impact the 30 percent requirement for Biology, Civics, and United States History courses as the results of these assessments will be available in early June.

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