Florida’s study on whether its high school level FSA exams could be replaced by SAT/ACT was rigged: An Orlando Sentinel op-ed

My op-ed on replacing Florida’s high school-level FSA exams on math and English language arts with the ACT or SAT was published in the Orlando Sentinel this morning.

The op-ed addresses a study of the topic – sort of – released by the Florida Department of Education recently.  The study was authorized by language in last year’s enormous HB 7069 education reform bill.  The catch was that it referenced a bit of federal law that deals with allowing local school districts to use different exams than the state – so the study focused on that.  That bit of the United States Code was 20 U.S.C. s. 6311 (b) (2) (H), which you can read here.  The study did not look at all at the possibility of completely replacing the high school-level FSA exams in math and English language arts with the SAT or ACT.  I, like apparently lots of other folks, missed that in the rush to pass HB 7069.

In the op-ed, I argue that seven of the fifteen states for which ESSA plans have been approved are being allowed to use the SAT or ACT for federal accountability purposes.  So why not Florida?

Education Week took a look at the Florida study this week.

Education Week is also tracking which states have had their ESSA plans approved.

Here are links to the ESSA plans for the approved states:  Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee.

Perhaps one of my two regular readers noticed that there is no discussion of science in the op-ed.  The 2009 decision to make the Biology 1 end-of-course exam Florida’s high school science exam for federal accountability purposes continues to stick in my craw.  During the 2007-2008 science standards process, standards were written for high school in chemistry, physics, and Earth/space science.  Limiting the high school science test to biology sends a less-than-optimum message to students, parents, teachers and administrators about the importance of science in a high school education.  But there is little interest in addressing that issue.

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