A parent asked us on Facebook: “Please find out for us parents of third graders, who face mandatory retention if they fail the new reading assessment this spring, how the state plans to deal with them. Will they return to 3rd grade after the cut scores are determined in Winter 2015?”
The bottom line: third graders can still be held back next year if they score the equivalent of a 1, out of 5, on the reading test. But those students are still eligible to to advance to fourth grade through one of state’s exemptions, including a portfolio or passing an alternative exam.
The math, reading and writing exam (reading and writing are combined as English language arts) is intended to measure how well students in third through eleventh grades understand Florida’s Common Core-based standards. The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade.
We’ve pulled together the most important things to know about the new exam in this presentation. Click on the right or left side of the slide to advance or go back.
Some teachers say they believe too many tests are bad for students. Around the state, students, parents, teachers, superintendents and school boards are discussing how to voice their opposition to testing.
But is the classroom the right place to raise those questions? Educators disagree about the best way for teachers to speak up.
The first step is an investigation by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, according to the document posted by FSBA. If Stewart determines the district isn’t complying with state law, the State Board of Education can order the district to comply.
The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a plan to emphasize wireless Internet connections.
Tomorrow the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on a plan that would add $2 billion over two years to help schools and libraries purchase high-speed wireless Internet access.
The plan’s full details are not public, but the agency has published a short summary of the proposed changes.
The plan has three broad goals:
Expand the amount of grants available to help school purchase and maintain wireless Internet networks.
Change eligibility to broaden the number of schools and libraries that can receive grants.
Make the program simpler and faster for participating schools and libraries.
A Republican FCC commissioner and two Democratic senators have questioned the proposal this week. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said the plan numbers “don’t add up” and that the changes would mean higher charges on phone bills. U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller, of West Virginia, and Edwrd Markey, of Massachusetts, were concerned emphasizing wireless would come at the expense of funding for other, wired broadband Internet connections.
The median earnings of Florida associate in arts graduates was $26,504 in their first year, while the median bachelor’s graduate (not divided by arts and science) earnings was $33,652. Nursing, accounting and teaching graduates earned the highest median pay among bachelor’s graduates. For bachelor degrees earned at Florida colleges, the median pay was highest for nursing, computer and information technology and dental hygienists.
The median associate in science earnings was $45,060, with emergency medical technicians, nursing and physical therapy the most lucrative fields.
More troubling for the new standards? The more people surveyed said they know about the standards, the less likely they were to support Common Core or believe Common Core would improve schools or produce high school graduates who were ready for college.
Sixty-one percent of those who said they knew “a great deal” about Common Core thought the standards were not good policy. For those who said they knew “only a little” about Common Core, 43 percent said Common Core was good policy.
Overall, half of Democrats thought Common Core was good policy. Just one-third of independents and 30 percent of Republicans thought the standards were good policy.
Non-whites were more likely to support the standards, as were those living in the Midwest and West. Opposition to Common Core was strongest in the South — 60 percent said Common Core is not good policy — and Northeast.
Here’s the note the department sent to school districts this morning:
As some of you already know, Pearson is experiencing difficulty with a hosting provider this morning, which is causing issues with testing (both TestNav and TestHear) and accessing the PearsonAccess website for test management. The issue does not seem to be statewide, but several districts have reported issues.
Essays on Florida’s new writing test will be scored by a human and a computer, but the computer score will only matter if the score is significantly different from that of the human reviewer. If that happens, bid documents indicate the essay will be scored by another human reviewer.
University of Akron researcher Mark Shermis has studied the accuracy of automated essay scoring — computer programs which read essays and assign a score – in three trials. Shermis concluded the programs worked at least as well as human scorers in two of those trials.
An Australian trial of two automated essay scoring programs found machine-scored essays fell short of human grading on closed content driven writing prompts. But that trial used just one prompt and a small sample of essays.
A second trial, sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, tested eight commercial automated essay scoring programs and one developed by a university lab. the trial gathered more than 22,000 essays from eight writing prompts spread across six states.
The nine automated essay scoring programs performed on par with human scorers. The humans earned an accuracy score of .74, while the best of the automated essay scoring programs earned an accuracy score of .78. The machines scored particularly well on two data sets which included shorter, source-based essays.
“A few of them actually did better than human raters,” Shermis said.
Florida writing tests will be graded by a human and a computer program, according to bid documents for the new test. And just 2 percent of students will take a pencil and paper exam in 2015.
A computer program will grade student essays on the writing portion of the standardized test set to replace the FCAT, according to bid documents released by the Florida Department of Education.
The essays will be scored by a human and a computer, but the computer score will only matter if the score is significantly different from that of the human reviewer. If that happens, the documents indicate the essay will be scored by another human reviewer.
Florida writing tests are currently graded by two human scorers and the state has never used computerized grading on the exam.
The Florida Department of Education announced Monday it chose the non-profit American Institutes for Research to produce new tests tied to Florida’s Common Core-based math and language arts standards. Spokesmen for the agency and AIR said they had yet to sign a contract, were still working out the details and declined to comment about the specifics of the new test.
“It’s speculative at this point to think about what is on the assessments,” said Joe Follick, communications director for the Florida Department of Education.
But the bid documents show using computers to grade the state writing test will save $30.5 million over the course of the six-year, $220 million contract with AIR. The change was part of a list which trimmed more than $100 million from AIR’s initial proposal.