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Senator Travis Hutson, District 7 — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 20, 2017

CONTACT: Danielle Curbow, 386-446-7610


Senator Travis Hutson Asks for Fairness in Algebra II Grades

ST AUGUSTINE, FL – Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) has asked the Department of Education (DOE) to fix an unfair grading situation for students who have previously taken Algebra II. The issue stems from the controversial and now eliminated Algebra II end of course exam (EOC). After the enacting of HB 7069 this month, the Algebra II EOC is no longer offered not just for students who will take Algebra II next year, but also for those who took the course this year but were going to make-up the exam this month. Since the exam counts as 30% of the grades of students who took the exam this year, students who took the same course will have one-third of their final grades calculated differently depending on if they took the test or not.

Without action, this disparity will carry over not just between Algebra II students this year, but also between those who took it this year and future years. With the status quo, there will be students in the same graduating class who will be graded differently in the same course depending on if they took it before or after the EOC was eliminated. This coupled with the problems with the Algebra II EOC, which led ultimately to its elimination, leaves the students whose grades are built on the EOC at a distinct disadvantage.

As such, Senator Hutson is asking DOE to do whatever it can to not have the flawed Algebra II EOC negatively affect the GPAs of students who had to take it. “Since Algebra II is basically a prerequisite for colleges, the problems with the exam have real world negative effects on some students GPAs and college competitiveness,” Senator Hutson explained. “If there is anything we can do to make sure past and future Algebra II students are graded fairly and uniformly, we need to do it.”

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SEE LETTER BELOW:

July 20, 2017

Dear Chair Johnson and Commissioner Stewart,

In recent weeks, both parents and teachers in my district have brought a troubling situation to my attention regarding the elimination of the Algebra II end of course exam. While the elimination of the exam is universally applauded, the timing has brought about an unintended consequence that does not treat all students fairly. Specifically, since the enacting of HB 7069 on July 1, students who took Algebra II last year are graded differently depending on whether they took the end of course exam or not. While the exam counted as 30% of the final grades for those who took it, those who were intending to take the make-up test this month can no longer do so and their grades will be calculated without the exam. This creates a scenario where some students who took the exam would see their grades improve if their grades were calculated the same way as students who did not take the exam.

This year’s disparity between grading students who took the exam and students who did not take the exam highlights the larger problem of unfairness in how the exam counts towards grades and GPAs going forward. The problems with the Algebra II end of course exam are well documented and the reasons for its elimination are well founded. However, there is a current cohort of students who took the exam and had their grades negatively affected by a flawed test that their peers who will take Algebra II next year will not have to worry about. While it is too late to help those who are starting college this year, there is still time to right this wrong for the rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have had the Algebra II exam hurt their GPAs.

I am writing to ask you to look into this situation and if possible offer relief to ensure fairness in how the past Algebra II exams affect students’ grades. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Travis Hutson

Florida Senator, 7th District