Standardized testing discussed in Orlando

School officials don't want tests used for school grades, teacher evaluations

ORLANDO, Fla. - Members of Florida's board of education met Wednesday in Orlando to discuss the state's new -- and controversial -- standardized exams.

The Florida Standards Assessment, which replaced the FCAT exam, was first administered to students last spring and was met with several computer problems.

The technical glitches sparked an FDLE investigation into possible sabotage that turned up nothing, but it also prevented results from being released over the summer.

In Wednesday's meeting, the board of education discussed the recommendations for FSA cut scores.

"Cut scores are critically important, because they help us know what students have learned (and) how much they've learned," said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

A presentation detailed a multi-stage process for determining how to assess student achievement in several subject areas.

Five cut levels were outlined before board members.  Level 3 and above would be considered "satisfactory" or "passing."

Among those in attendance were several members of Opt-Out Orlando.

Opt-Out Orlando is opposed to high-stakes standardized testing in public schools.

"School grades (and) teacher evaluation performance pay, all of that is riding on the backs of our children and kids know it," said member Cindy Hamilton.

Superintendents from across the state also made a call on the board to not use this year's tests for school grades and teacher evaluations.

"There is no way for the Department of Education to accurately measure student gains on the FSA because it is our students' first time taking it," said Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Members with the board of education said the test results from last spring will be used as a baseline and will not have negative consequences on school evaluation.

"It is just to see where are we starting with our new standards and that's what those grades will tell us," said Department of Education Chief of Staff Kathy Hebda.

FSA cut score recommendations will be voted on by the board of education in a meeting on January 6.?

Members of Florida's board of education meet in Orlando to discuss the state's new -- and controversial -- standardized exams.

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