ACCPTA is advocating for the removal of high stakes associated with standardized tests this spring for many reasons:
- This has been an extremely difficult and unprecedented year for our students, teachers, school staff and families. Due to the pandemic, the delivery of education has been met with inconsistency, barriers, and challenges, resulting in an uneven playing field.
- During times like this, student and education staff mental health is just as important as academic progress. Alleviating the high stakes and punitive accountability placed on the FSA and other standardized tests would minimize anxiety and stress on students, educators, other school staff and families.
Federal Accountability Waiver
The U.S. Department of Education indicated that states can request a waiver from some of the federally-mandated accountability requirements for standardized tests, including:
- The requirement that schools test 95% of their students in grades 3 – 8.
- The requirement to identify schools for targeted support and improvement based on test results from the 2020-2021 school year (states would continue to provide support to the schools identified the previous year).
- The requirement to break down data by subgroups for accountability purposes (states would still break down the data and report it publicly).
The Florida Board of Education met on March 17 and discussed the possibility of requesting this waiver. Before doing so, public comment must be solicited by March 31.
We encourage you to ask the FL DOE to request the federal waiver. Removing these accountability requirements will relieve pressure on schools, districts, and families during a time when flexibility is critical.
The FL DOE also has the authority to remove the state-mandated high stakes being used for standardized tests through an Executive Order. Doing this immediately would relieve test-based anxiety for students and teachers going into the tests this Spring.
Contact the DOE and the BOE to ask them to remove the high stakes placed on tests at the state level, including:
- Third grade retention (in cases where good cause exemptions are not appropriate)
- Teacher evaluations based on standardized test scores
- School grades (which are largely based on test scores)
Send the email to the Governor, the Commissioner of Education and Board of Education:
Let them know you want the state-mandated high stakes removed from the tests this Spring for the reasons mentioned here. If possible, include a personal story about how COVID has impacted your child’s education (through no fault of the school or the teachers) and how the high stakes placed on testing are impacting your child.