about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 261052_1203576379_7127104_q.jpgKay Dee
    So, does this mean you cannot opt out in the State of Florida? I am still confused with the double talk.
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 261052_1203576379_7127104_q.jpgKay Dee
    Thank you Sandra for helping us ALL! I hope other parents continue to watch, get involved, and work towards getting education moving in the right direction.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    We should be watching similar actions nationwide. FYI nothing to report today...still digging.
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    So far only opt out actions in Florida are private school or homeschool. Cannot determine if actions in Chicago and PA apply in Florida./still pursuing info.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    I asked at our school (in Pasco). The information in the statutes above are correct, but vague. According to our test administrator, if the student is present at school, he/she is given the test. If he/she decides not to take it, that zero will affect the school's grade under NCLB/AYP, etc. and funds the school receives. I asked, "what if a student is not present?" She said they would take it on make up day, and if missed on make up day, she would just send the untaken test off to the state. No penalty to the kid BUT the school could give him/her an IEP, or "classroom instructional accommodations" as stated in the statutes. She did say COULD, which is the worst thing that would happen.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    Would a third grader be allowed to go th 4th grade without the test? This is hopeful ifo Tracey!
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    From what I know, the only time the FCAT counts toward progression is FCAT writes in 4th grade (where a teacher can put together a portfolio of student work instead of the FCAT test) and in high school where a "certificate of attendance" is issued instead of a diploma. It is definitely high stakes in high school. In middle and high school a student has to take intensive reading/math in place of their elective(s) if they fail FCAT. (And, according to our test administrator, if a student is absent and doesn't take the FCAT, other factors (GPA, lexile, FAIR test results, etc.) would be taken into consideration if no FCAT scores were present when it came scheduling time.) I would think the same other data would be used for 3rd grade, but I haven't seen that anywhere in writing.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    I posted something that may have a clue. This is interesting.


    Are school district the same, do you think, on this?
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    The information is still too vague. This is good discussion though...shedding light. THank you!


    about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    I have worked in 3 districts. They are all the same. I think this (using other data for placement) is state-wide.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    To my understanding, you cannot pass 3rd grade without passing FCAT reading. That's what we were told. But the biggest reason not to opt out is that many districts have an automatic enrollment in remedial math or reading if you do not take and pass the FCAT reading and/or math. So, your child could end up in remedial reading and/or math for a full year if they do not have a passing grade. Since this is automatic, they don't ask you why your student did not pass. My son goofed off in 5th and didn't pass it. He was automatically placed in remedial reading for 6th grade- the full year in the place of one of his electives. It was very frustrating as they do not give you an option to taking the test again or anything. There were other kids in there in a similar situation. The teacher said that it doesn't matter why the child is in there- if they don't get a 3.5 or higher, they are put into remedial automatically. So, check that too.

    about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    yes, that is true. If the student does not pass, he/she will be placed in remedial/intensive reading/math no matter what grade they fail. If they do not take the test, I don't know if the remedial course is required, only if they do not pass.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    These are very important details that need specifics before any parent makes their decision. Thanks for keeping this dialogue going. It's very useful and perhaps we'll get to the bottom of things soon.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    And they may not know what to do with a child who did not take the test. The answer may not be readily available. :)

    about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    I agree, Clare. That may be a school/district decision.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    From the Chicago and PA stories, the schools were not required nor responsible for providing alternative instruction. The children were reading books of their choice and writing in their journals, according to the reporting. Preparing for a child who is in this "opt out" bucket can be managed, I think. There is a library, computers, extra workbook assignments, book report, a little research...no?
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    At my school, every classroom is a testing room, including the library, computer lab, ervery single room. ESOL and SLD, etc. have small groups testing, so they take everything. If a student "chooses not to" take this test, they would turn in their test booklet (that is one of the options) and do whatever: read, write, sleep, etc.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    Well, an alternative assignment is still possible while the student sits in his/her regularly assigned classroom, right? Like we saw in Chicago?
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    If a student is present, they will be given the test. Like I said above, a zero on the test WILL affect funds/school grade/AYP, and the student's placement in next year's classes. No alternate assignments are given to any student. Test proctors/administrators may decide not to collect the tests back until the entire testing time is over, and if that is the case, the students CAN NOT do any other "work" other than FCAT. (but they can put their head down and take a nap :)) So, for there not to be a penalty to the school (and we're not sure about what the penalty would be for the student) it would be best for the student to be absent the day(s) of the test and absent on the make up day(s).
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    We still need more info, don't we. Tell me what happens to kids that miss the FCAT and make up days now? Sounds like that might be leading to the excess of excused absences, correct? That can veer into serious problems. I think this comes down to the parents. Some brave souls might look at the Chicago parent's letter, modify it an d send it in big numbers to their school leadership and school board members, putting them on notice of the legitimate concerns.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    Our district doesn't have a policy on excessive excused absences, but I can see where that might be a problem. It might take some creative thinking on your part there. Sadly, there is so much political agenda/bureaucracy behind the FCAT going way back, that I don't know WHAT the answer is.
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report

  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    There are many reasons that pass as excused absences: family business, personal business, illness (maybe your child gets physically ill from FCAT stress), religious reasons (some are giving up FCAT for Lent?), etc. The site you link is a great site, and, even though some of the info has changed with our new governor, it is correct. If your child is a level 1 (and maybe 2 depending on the school/teacher/district) he or she will be given an IEP and intensive level class-reading for grade 3. I know our level 1's and 2's in middle school are reading at a 3rd grade or lower level. There are other tests your child should have taken earlier in the year to rank his/her reading level, namely FAIR (should have taken that one twice already). Ask the Reading Coach or Assistant Principal or guidance counselor for your child's scores. (I would check in that order)
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    A couple of things that are incorrect in my experience above. This may be district specific but you cannot miss for personal business or family business. You can only be excused for illness of child or immediate family member or death in family. If there is a religious observation that would be ok too. That's it though. A child who has an unexcused absence would get zeros in all classes missed that day (or those days) IF there were assignments with grades in those classes. So, if nothing went on that day - no zeros. In high school, obviously this would be more of an issue than in 3rd grade. Teachers have discretion though. The other correction I would make is that you do not get an IEP if you get a 1 or 2 on FCAT. You do get a plan and I can't think of the name of it. IEP though is reserved for when you are actually enrolled in the ESE program. There are only specific diagnoses that will qualify you for that. Low FCAT scores (at this point however) do not qualify you for an IEP. That's but a technical correction but important for those who may get confused. We do not have FAIR in Palm Beach Co. WE have other names for our diagnositcs just in case, again, someone gets confused. The child's teacher(s) would know the FCAT score for the child as well.

    about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    :)

    about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 273591_1268991151_6321113_q.jpgTracey Weiss Suits
    Agreed, absence excuses are by district. I have used "personal family business" here in Pasco and also in Hillsborough and the absence is excused. I misspoke on the IEP, but the individual academic improvement plan is what it is called. Quoted from the state statutes: "school personnel must develop an individual academic improvement plan for each student who scores in Level 1." The FCAT administrator at my school said it would be only for a level 1, but I have seen level 2 quoted as well: "there must be evidence that demonstrates the student’s mastery of the Sunshine State Standards in reading equal to at least a Level 2 performance on the Grade 3 FCAT Reading." Here's info from the DOE on the definition of levels and promotion:

    High


    Level 5:

    Successful with the most challenging grade-level content


    Level 4:

    Mostly successful with challenging grade-level content


    Level 3:


    Partly successful with grade-level content – performance is on grade level


    Level 2:

    Limited success with grade-level content

    Low


    Level 1:

    Minimal success with grade-level content


    Students scoring in Levels 3, 4, or 5 are achieving at or above grade level.


    Students scoring in Levels 1 or 2 are achieving below grade level and are in need of additional assistance.


    In third grade, students who score Level 1 on the Grade 3 FCAT Reading assessment must meet a good cause exemption or demonstrate grade-level reading skills on an alternate test or through a portfolio of their school work in order to be promoted to Grade 4.


    About as clear as mud, huh?
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275986_1568810238_4243331_q.jpgMary Beriau
    I teach Intensive Reading at HS level. If a child gets scheduled for Intensive Reading due to low FCAT scores, parents can sign a waiver and have the child opt out of that class. Every year we have one or two parents who do that successfully. Most don't realize it's an option so they don't even try it. It's usually the kids who blew off the test but are in honors classes or a kid for whom the parent is getting outside tutoring for. It seems to me that if a child was scheduled for IR after opting out of FCAT, the parent could sign such a waiver.


    We also have kids who miss the test and the makeup days. Our guidance department generally looks to the previous year's scores and class schedule in making a determination as to whether the kid needs IR or not.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    Hmm that is interesting information. Let's keep it going. I will try to put it all together in one document so we have a picture of things.
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    Thanks! I saw this on another page. My concerns remain though. My biggest being that my child would be automatically placed in remedial classes. It's too high a price. She is in a different school district so maybe they don't do that in Brevard Co.
about 5 months ago · Report
  • external image 187213_100002115196296_2894943_q.jpgSandra Brevard
    I don't know what they do in Brevard. It may be a district by district plan. I made a few inquiries here and no one knew. I suspect and hope we will be hearing more.
about 5 months ago · Report
about 5 months ago · Report
last Saturday · Report
  • external image 275877_627513564_7601803_q.jpgClare Todd Kirchman
    Thing is though- her child did end up being stressed and pushed to take the test. Many kids are this resilent. Many are not. It isn't fair to depend on whether the kid can handle the pressure of standing up to the faculty or not. Plus, there are some real worries with placement of children in remedial classes and/or not passing grades/graduating. I would not want my kids to be stressed over those possibilities. And I cannot guarantee that those things would not happen. Until I am sure that those things cannot happen, I am unable to opt out. We need to push our boards to allow an opt out.
last Saturday · Report