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Test Grade Eliminations Result Of State Going "Too Far, Too Fast"

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho spoke out Tuesday after Monday's big news when it comes to testing students in South Florida.

The Florida Standards Assessment Test exam administered to third graders will not count against their being promoted to the next grade because they were so problem-plagued and late in being administered, the results won't be available by the end of the school year.

Also, the State Department of Education conceded it did not properly evaluate the mandated End-Of-Course Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry. As a result, the test will not be factored-into the student's final grade.

"The state has gone too far, too fast regarding the accountability and the deployment of this very new assessment and I think we're seeing the consequences of that," Carvalho said.

The botched evaluations for the End-Of-Course Algebra and Geometry exams follows a disastrous rollout for the computerized FAS Tests that saw software meltdowns, days of delay, kids of just sitting around.

Click here to watch Gary Nelson's report. 

"They should have used this year as an experimental year but they decided to move ahead in a way that would see the experimental year, the so-called baseline development year, as a true assessment year and that was a mistake," Carvalho said.

For many students it's been a year of lost instruction time amid a flawed system that will grade them, their schools and teachers.

If you get locked out multiple times you eventually have to restart your test and you'll spend an entire day in there and you'll miss out on all the stuff you're doing in your regular classes," said student Aisha Galdo.

Some good news, lawmakers allowed school districts to eliminate scores of required end of year tests. Miami-Dade alone got rid of 300 time-consuming and, in the district's view unnecessary, exams.

Also, according to MDPS, passing the Algebra I EOC assessment is still required for graduation. Algebra II and Geometry are not.

In the rare event an 11th or 12th grader failed the Algebra 1 EOC, the student would return to school in the summer and retake the test in a summer school type environment.

On Tuesday, Broward School Board members and Broward County Public School (BCPS) Superintendent Robert Runcie provided students and families with information regarding the impact of legislative changes to the state's accountability system on Broward students.

Runcie said that BCPS, for the promotion of third grade students to fourth grade, will not rely solely on the results from the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the new FSA for purposes of identifying students at risk for retention. The county will use existing evidence and student measurements collected by teachers and schools regarding student performance to make informed decision regarding student promotions. Students in jeopardy of not moving on to fourth grade will be invited to attend summer school to receive intensive reading interventions.

Regarding Broward students who took the End of Course (EOC) exams in Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry, since the exams will not be available by the end of the school year to include as 30 percent of students final grade, the county will move forward the FDE's request of moving forward with calculating final grades without EOC results.

When the grades do become available, BCPS will recalculate grades with the EOC counting for 30 percent of the final grade. If the student's grade improves with the EOC, the student's transcript will be adjusted. If not, the grade will not count.

"We see the evidence now that the state has rushed through this, given the challenges that we've noted throughout the year," Runcie said.

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