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Florida Testing: High Stakes Obsession

The Florida Department of Education(sic) has proposed allowing students to use PSAT scores as a substitute for the FSA Reading Test graduation requirement. Here is some background. As of now, students can use the SAT or ACT as substitutes for the FSA Reading Test. They can also use the PERT test as a substitute for the Algebra I graduation testing requirement.

Suddenly there is panic in Tallahassee. Jeb Bush Pam Stewart want to change things again.

Stewart and her cabal claim the PERT is not rigorous enough.  They also want to raise the score required to substitute the SAT for graduation.

They do this every few years. Graduation is a moving target in Florida public schools – and that’s they way the cabal likes it.

Florida wants to make another test – high stakes. They want to turn another test that was never designed to be used for high stakes graduation requirements – into an essential part of the Florida testing regimen.

Here are some effects of turning the SAT, PERT, ACT and now PSAT into high stakes tests:

  1. More time testing, as schools require these tests during the school day. The SAT and PSAT basically take an entire day of instruction away.
  2. Less time learning- unless you count learning how to bubble in all of that personal information on the PSAT and SAT.
  3. More money diverted to pay for these tests. Palm Beach County- for example- spends over ONE MILLION dollars a year on the SAT and SAT prep alone.
  4. Attendance issues. On the days the SAT and PSAT are given- many students (not tested) stay home.
  5. Double testing issues. The PSAT test usually falls in the FSA retake testing window. Last year- many schools did not have enough free staff to offer both tests so students lost a chance to take the FSA.

It is malpractice to use tests for purposes they were never designed for. Can the results ever be valid? And what about the random cut scores assigned? This is education policy by whimsy.

Governor Rick Scott is probably running for the Senate so he will not make his base mad. He needs the Jeb Bush sycophants. He needs those who make a living by scapegoating public schools for the ills of society. And he needs those who manipulate and bastardize data to cook up the concoction needed to push an agenda that uses meaningless testing as a hammer.

 

 

 

 

 

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