2004 Florida Statutes
Student assessment program for public schools.
(1) PURPOSE.--The primary purposes of the student assessment program are to provide information needed to improve the public schools by enhancing the learning gains of all students and to inform parents of the educational progress of their public school children. The program must be designed to:
(a) Assess the annual learning gains of each student toward achieving the Sunshine State Standards appropriate for the student's grade level.
(b) Provide data for making decisions regarding school accountability and recognition.
(c) Identify the educational strengths and needs of students and the readiness of students to be promoted to the next grade level or to graduate from high school with a standard high school diploma.
(d) Assess how well educational goals and performance standards are met at the school, district, and state levels.
(e) Provide information to aid in the evaluation and development of educational programs and policies.
(f) Provide information on the performance of Florida students compared with others across the United States.
(2) NATIONAL EDUCATION COMPARISONS.--It is Florida's intent to participate in the measurement of national educational goals. The Commissioner of Education shall direct Florida school districts to participate in the administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or a similar national assessment program, both for the national sample and for any state-by-state comparison programs which may be initiated. Such assessments must be conducted using the data collection procedures, the student surveys, the educator surveys, and other instruments included in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or similar program being administered in Florida. The results of these assessments shall be included in the annual report of the Commissioner of Education specified in this section. The administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress or similar program shall be in addition to and separate from the administration of the statewide assessment program.
(3) STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM.--The commissioner shall design and implement a statewide program of educational assessment that provides information for the improvement of the operation and management of the public schools, including schools operating for the purpose of providing educational services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice programs. The commissioner may enter into contracts for the continued administration of the assessment, testing, and evaluation programs authorized and funded by the Legislature. Contracts may be initiated in 1 fiscal year and continue into the next and may be paid from the appropriations of either or both fiscal years. The commissioner is authorized to negotiate for the sale or lease of tests, scoring protocols, test scoring services, and related materials developed pursuant to law. Pursuant to the statewide assessment program, the commissioner shall:
(a) Submit to the State Board of Education a list that specifies student skills and competencies to which the goals for education specified in the state plan apply, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, science, and mathematics. The skills and competencies must include problem-solving and higher-order skills as appropriate and shall be known as the Sunshine State Standards as defined in s. 1000.21 The commissioner shall select such skills and competencies after receiving recommendations from educators, citizens, and members of the business community. The commissioner shall submit to the State Board of Education revisions to the list of student skills and competencies in order to maintain continuous progress toward improvements in student proficiency.
(b) Develop and implement a uniform system of indicators to describe the performance of public school students and the characteristics of the public school districts and the public schools. These indicators must include, without limitation, information gathered by the comprehensive management information system created pursuant to s. 1008.385 and student achievement information obtained pursuant to this section.
(c) Develop and implement a student achievement testing program known as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) as part of the statewide assessment program, to be administered annually in grades 3 through 10 to measure reading, writing, science, and mathematics. Other content areas may be included as directed by the commissioner. The testing program must be designed so that:
1. The tests measure student skills and competencies adopted by the State Board of Education as specified in paragraph (a). The tests must measure and report student proficiency levels in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. The commissioner shall provide for the tests to be developed or obtained, as appropriate, through contracts and project agreements with private vendors, public vendors, public agencies, postsecondary educational institutions, or school districts. The commissioner shall obtain input with respect to the design and implementation of the testing program from state educators and the public.
2. The testing program will include a combination of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests and include, to the extent determined by the commissioner, questions that require the student to produce information or perform tasks in such a way that the skills and competencies he or she uses can be measured.
3. Each testing program, whether at the elementary, middle, or high school level, includes a test of writing in which students are required to produce writings that are then scored by appropriate methods.
4. A score is designated for each subject area tested, below which score a student's performance is deemed inadequate. The school districts shall provide appropriate remedial instruction to students who score below these levels.
5. Except as provided in s. 1003.43(11)(b), students must earn a passing score on the grade 10 assessment test described in this paragraph or on an alternate assessment as described in subsection (9) in reading, writing, and mathematics to qualify for a regular high school diploma. The State Board of Education shall designate a passing score for each part of the grade 10 assessment test. In establishing passing scores, the state board shall consider any possible negative impact of the test on minority students. All students who took the grade 10 FCAT during the 2000-2001 school year shall be required to earn the passing scores in reading and mathematics established by the State Board of Education for the March 2001 test administration. Such students who did not earn the established passing scores and must repeat the grade 10 FCAT are required to earn the passing scores established for the March 2001 test administration. All students who take the grade 10 FCAT for the first time in March 2002 shall be required to earn the passing scores in reading and mathematics established by the State Board of Education for the March 2002 test administration. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules which specify the passing scores for the grade 10 FCAT. Any such rules, which have the effect of raising the required passing scores, shall only apply to students taking the grade 10 FCAT for the first time after such rules are adopted by the State Board of Education.
6. Participation in the testing program is mandatory for all students attending public school, including students served in Department of Juvenile Justice programs, except as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner. If a student does not participate in the statewide assessment, the district must notify the student's parent and provide the parent with information regarding the implications of such nonparticipation. If modifications are made in the student's instruction to provide accommodations that would not be permitted on the statewide assessment tests, the district must notify the student's parent of the implications of such instructional modifications. A parent must provide signed consent for a student to receive instructional modifications that would not be permitted on the statewide assessments and must acknowledge in writing that he or she understands the implications of such accommodations. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules, based upon recommendations of the commissioner, for the provision of test accommodations and modifications of procedures as necessary for students in exceptional education programs and for students who have limited English proficiency. Accommodations that negate the validity of a statewide assessment are not allowable.
7. A student seeking an adult high school diploma must meet the same testing requirements that a regular high school student must meet.
8. District school boards must provide instruction to prepare students to demonstrate proficiency in the skills and competencies necessary for successful grade-to-grade progression and high school graduation. If a student is provided with accommodations or modifications that are not allowable in the statewide assessment program, as described in the test manuals, the district must inform the parent in writing and must provide the parent with information regarding the impact on the student's ability to meet expected proficiency levels in reading, writing, and math. The commissioner shall conduct studies as necessary to verify that the required skills and competencies are part of the district instructional programs.
9. The Department of Education must develop, or select, and implement a common battery of assessment tools that will be used in all juvenile justice programs in the state. These tools must accurately measure the skills and competencies established in the Florida Sunshine State Standards.
The commissioner may design and implement student testing programs, for any grade level and subject area, necessary to effectively monitor educational achievement in the state.
(d) Conduct ongoing research to develop improved methods of assessing student performance, including, without limitation, the use of technology to administer tests, score, or report the results of, the use of electronic transfer of data, the development of work-product assessments, and the development of process assessments.
(e) Conduct ongoing research and analysis of student achievement data, including, without limitation, monitoring trends in student achievement, identifying school programs that are successful, and analyzing correlates of school achievement.
(f) Provide technical assistance to school districts in the implementation of state and district testing programs and the use of the data produced pursuant to such programs.
(4) DISTRICT TESTING PROGRAMS.--Each district school board shall periodically assess student performance and achievement within each school of the district. The assessment programs must be based upon local goals and objectives that are compatible with the state plan for education and that supplement the skills and competencies adopted by the State Board of Education. All school districts must participate in the statewide assessment program designed to measure annual student learning and school performance. All district school boards shall report assessment results as required by the state management information system.
(5) SCHOOL TESTING PROGRAMS.--Each public school shall participate in the statewide assessment program, unless specifically exempted by state board rule based on serving a specialized population for which standardized testing is not appropriate. Student performance data shall be analyzed and reported to parents, the community, and the state. Student performance data shall be used in developing objectives of the school improvement plan, evaluation of instructional personnel, evaluation of administrative personnel, assignment of staff, allocation of resources, acquisition of instructional materials and technology, performance-based budgeting, and promotion and assignment of students into educational programs. The analysis of student performance data also must identify strengths and needs in the educational program and trends over time. The analysis must be used in conjunction with the budgetary planning processes developed pursuant to s. 1008.385 and the development of the programs of remediation.
(6) REQUIRED ANALYSES.--The commissioner shall provide, at a minimum, for the following analyses of data produced by the student achievement testing program:
(a) The statistical system for the annual assessments shall use measures of student learning, such as the FCAT, to determine teacher, school, and school district statistical distributions, which shall be determined using available data from the FCAT, and other data collection as deemed appropriate by the Department of Education, to measure the differences in student prior year achievement compared to the current year achievement for the purposes of accountability and recognition.
(b) The statistical system shall provide the best estimates of teacher, school, and school district effects on student progress. The approach used by the department shall be approved by the commissioner before implementation.
(c) The annual testing program shall be administered to provide for valid statewide comparisons of learning gains to be made for purposes of accountability and recognition. The commissioner shall establish a schedule for the administration of the statewide assessments. In establishing such schedule, the commissioner is charged with the duty to accomplish the latest possible administration of the statewide assessments and the earliest possible provision of the results to the school districts feasible within available technology and specific appropriation. District school boards shall not establish school calendars that jeopardize or limit the valid testing and comparison of student learning gains.
(7) LOCAL ASSESSMENTS.--Measurement of the learning gains of students in all subjects and grade levels other than subjects and grade levels required for the state student achievement testing program is the responsibility of the school districts.
(8) APPLICABILITY OF TESTING STANDARDS.--A student must meet the testing requirements for high school graduation that were in effect at the time the student entered 9th grade, provided the student's enrollment was continuous.
(9) EQUIVALENCIES FOR STANDARDIZED TESTS.--
(a) The Commissioner of Education shall approve the use of the SAT and ACT tests as alternative assessments to the grade 10 FCAT for the 2003-2004 school year. Students who attain scores on the SAT or ACT which equate to the passing scores on the grade 10 FCAT for purposes of high school graduation shall satisfy the assessment requirement for a standard high school diploma as provided in s. 1003.429(6)(a) or s. 1003.43(5)(a) for the 2003-2004 school year if the students meet the requirement in paragraph (b).
(b) A student shall be required to take the grade 10 FCAT a total of three times without earning a passing score in order to use the scores on an alternative assessment pursuant to paragraph (a). This requirement shall not apply to a student who is a new student to the public school system in grade 12.
History.--s. 368, ch. 2002-387; s. 7, ch. 2003-8; s. 2, ch. 2003-413; s. 49, ch. 2004-41; s. 3, ch. 2004-42; s. 5, ch. 2004-271.