Parents: Information on Florida school transcripts put students at disadvantage

Seminole County Public Schools considering changes

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – For high school students, preparing for college can be stressful and competitive.

Some Florida school districts are including information on transcripts that put students at a disadvantage when applying for college, according to people who spoke with News 6.

Caroline Eldredge, 17, said she has always been a well-rounded student but when applying to college, the Lake Mary High School student said even she had concerns.

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“I knew going into senior year it was going to be time-consuming,” Eldredge said. “But I didn’t expect my transcript to be the issue.”

The issue is Florida High School transcripts list more information than some think they should.

Not only do the transcripts list a student’s classes and GPA, but it also has the scores for every standardized test they’ve taken, no matter how many times they’ve taken it.

“I felt that this was taking away my opportunities, and a lot of kids’ opportunities, to be selective with their scores,” Eldredge said.

Across the country, many colleges and universities have gone test-optional, test blind and score choice.

“Test optional” means applications can be submitted with or without test scores, and students decide whether they want scores considered for admission.

“Test blind” means the schools don’t look at test scores at all. “Score Choice” allows the student to decide which test and test date to send to the school.

In light of this, Caroline Eldredge and her mom Jennifer Eldredge said they questioned why including all test scores on transcripts is the default in Florida.

“Some might argue that it’s a privacy issue,” Jennifer Eldredge said. “A student could say, ‘I don’t want my specific test scores from back when I was in elementary school or middle school released like that.”

Allison Slater Tate is the director of College Counseling at Lake Mary Prep and previously held the same position at Lake Mary High School. She said the practice puts Florida students at a disadvantage when trying to pursue higher education.

“I feel like there is no good reason to have scores on a transcript,” Slater Tate said. “Florida public school students are at a disadvantage because private school students don’t have them on their transcripts. And that makes me so upset because I have worked in both — I care about all the kids.”

Slater Tate said she’s been pushing to get the practice changed.

“It’s not a state policy because we found counties in the state that don’t do it,” Slater Tate said.

She said sent an email to an assistant superintendent of Seminole County schools.

“Florida is one of the only states that still puts test scores on public school transcripts and, in fact, in the admissions world. We are notorious for it,” Slater Tate wrote in her email.

News 6 reached out to Seminole County schools, and the district acknowledged they are reconsidering the practice and that students have options.

“Currently, when requesting a transcript, students in Seminole County Public Schools have the option to remove the SAT/ACT score from the academic transcript that is then sent to colleges and universities for admission purposes,” the district said. “We are presently reviewing this process.”

Students can opt out. Eldredge said she opted out once she realized what was happening, the onus is on the student.

Students must go to a counselor and request to opt-out of having all scores on their transcripts before uploading them to any colleges.

The Seminole County school district confirmed the practice is not a state policy, which is why they can reconsider it.

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.