End Florida's Politically Manipulated School Grades

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Bob Schaeffer  (239) 395-6773

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for immediate release, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

TESTING REFORM LEADER TELLS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.

“OUR  CHILDREN AND FLORIDA TAXPAYERS

DESERVE BETTER THAN POLITICALLY MANIPULATED GRADES

BASED ON A DEFECTIVE STANDARDIZED EXAM”

 

At its Wednesday, January 6 meeting, the State Board of Education should reject calls to adopt a tougher grading system and, instead, declare the results from 2015 testing “incomplete,” according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). The organization’s Florida representative also called on the Board to suspend the state’s accountability system pending a complete overhaul.

In an email to Board of Education members, FairTest’s Bob Schaeffer, explained, “As a 16-year, full-time resident of southwest Florida, I have seen how the state's misuse and overuse of standardized tests have warped public education. Now the same forces that promoted these test-and-punish policies are pressing the Board of Education to ‘raise the bar’ on the controversial Florida Standards Assessment so that more students, teachers and schools will be labeled failing.

“There is simply no evidence to justify such a decision,” Schaeffer continued. “In fact, the only school grade that can logically be issued based on scores from the repeatedly flawed 2015 tests is an ‘Incomplete.’ The state's entire school rating program should be suspended pending an overhaul of the state's accountability system. That is what Indiana is now planning to do after its exams were disrupted by similar testing company errors.”

Schaeffer added, “Since they cannot rationally support their scheme, proponents have resorted to fabricating arguments. First, they claim that the new FSA tests were ‘validated.’ That is not true. The independent investigating team said that scores were ‘suspect.’ The report recommended that 2015 FSA results not be used to determine grade promotion, high school graduation and the like. How, then, does it make sense to use the same test scores to grade schools? Some proponents even assert that a tougher scoring system will result in a stronger economy and higher wage jobs. That’s little more than magical thinking.  How do they explain the fact that Florida’s test results rose during the Great Recession while employment and wages plunged?”

The FairTest email concluded, “Our children and Florida taxpayers deserve better than politically manipulated grades based on a defective standardized exam.”

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