Testing requirements removed for Class of 2021

By Brian Tang, Staff Intern

Student promotion and graduation will not be based on state exams this school year because of changes in education due to the pandemic this year, according to an order issued April 9 by Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. Students were generally in favor of the change.

“If students really haven’t learned anything, or haven’t had the real education experience where they actually learn,” sophomore Keanu Silva said. “It would be unfair for those not able to focus properly while looking at a computer screen.”

Per the order, if a graduating student doesn’t meet state assessment requirements, they can still graduate as long as they meet credit requirements and have an achievement equivalent to a Grade 10 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) English Language Arts and Algebra 1 EOC or comparative SAT/ACT score.

“This would be good mostly because I struggle with testing but am a good student,” sophomore Shannon Hughes said. “It might be bad on other people because they could be struggling with grades but do well on tests”

EOCs for all grades would have their 30% weight in a course’s final grade be replaced the highest letter grade of all quarters if students had earned a minimum of a C in the fourth quarter. If not, then the EOC grade will be replaced by the highest of the third or fourth quarter grade.

“We still encourage our students to take the EOCs and FSAs so we can gather data from them,” Assistant Principal Lori Carlson said. “The more accurate data we can have, the better the decisions we can make about our students’ learning and any gaps we may find.”

Students, including those learning from home, are highly encouraged to take the FSA, Florida Standards Alternative Assessment (FSAA) and EOC examinations, and students not present for examinations will be marked absent for exam periods or portions of the day. FSA and EOC scores are expected to be released July 31.

“There are students that never cared and won’t show up for state testing,” Silva said. “I believe schools should still opt in for some options though.”

Although student promotion and graduation won’t be based on test scores, school grades still will be. Schools with higher grades will have certain benefits, and those with lower grades will have increased state oversight; However, districts can choose whether or not to opt in for grading or retain current school grading. Teacher evaluation will not be waived for this year.

“Teachers should still teach the criteria and help out students that have struggled this past year, but students should not think that just because it is not required, that it won’t help in the future,” Silva said.

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