ORLANDO, FL — The Orange County School Board and Superintendent have advocated relentlessly for a “hold harmless” baseline year for the state’s newly created tests. Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said, “We are pleased, although the timing is late and perhaps by default, that the state has now removed the 30 percent calculation in student grades for three of these exams. Additionally, OCPS has determined a method to “do no harm” to middle and high school students taking locally created EOCs which we have termed Common Final Assessments. We have previously nullified any impact on elementary aged students taking the tests.” Details are provided below.
Common Final Exams (locally created EOCs)
All students taking common final exams in applicable courses will receive the exam as 20 percent of the course grade for initial calculation. We will then ONLY consider the calculation if it IMPROVES the student’s grade. In any case where the exam lowers the student’s grade, the final common exam calculation will be removed. In essence, during this baseline year, OCPS will do no harm to any student’s grades based on Common Final Exams. You will recall we stayed the course with these exams rather than reverting to using reading or math scores for teachers with no state exams or asking teachers at such a late date to create their own exams. Keep in mind, the state still requires measurement of student learning for all subjects and that those outcomes be used in teacher evaluations. A recent FLDOE memo also stressed the need to be consistent among classrooms and schools. This baseline year, helpful feedback from teachers and students, should put OCPS well on its way to doing just that.
Elementary School EOCs
As previously announced, elementary schools are NOT considering EOCs in calculation of student grades. More importantly, third grade promotion considerations will NOT include FSA outcomes which have not been validated. Instead, principals, parents and teachers will look at various data regarding student performance to consider any need for retention.
Students Taking Florida Standards Assessments in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
For the 2014-2015 school year only, because of the unavailability of independently validated statewide assessment results in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, the statutory requirements to include these results in the final course grade are inoperative. As a result, schools should calculate final course grades and make promotion decisions without regard to the 30 percent requirement that typically applies. The absence of EOC results alone in these courses will not result in a grade of incomplete. A student’s final grade in these courses will be calculated from 50 percent of the Semester 1 grade and 50 percent of the Semester 2 grade. OCPS will NOT recalculate grades this year should the state eventually validate these EOCs.
Students Taking Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Assessments (Algebra I retake, Geometry retake, Biology, US History, Civics)
The results of assessments aligned to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Assessments are still required by statute to be used as 30 percent of the course grade in applicable courses.