******************************************************************Diane Ravitch recently called Florida legislators "test-crazy", but if the legislators are test-crazy, then the Commissioner of Education, in conjunction with Alpine Testing Solutions and the Florida Department of Education may be delusional. Sometimes, people can lie to themselves so much that they begin to believe themselves. We have an obligation to educate parents about the reality of testing in our public schools.
Here are five fairly basic things I think every Florida parent should know about the testing debacle:
1.) The Florida Commissioner of Education testified to the Florida Senate on March 4, 2015, that the FSA was "the content of the test is absolutely psychometrically valid and reliable." She said that she would "be happy to provide" the evidence to support that claim. (More on that here if you're interested.) Repeated requests for the evidence were made, with no success. You can come to your own conclusion about the truthfulness of her statements.
2.) The Florida legislature demanded (in CS/HB7069) a "validity study" of the FSA. This $600,000 legislative requirement is in spite of the fact that studies of validity and reliability are not performed after a test with high stakes (graduation, retention, remedial placement, etc.) has been administered. Rather, best practice dictates that assessments are first alpha and beta tested, and then administered to students. Psychometric studies are certainly never with done with a legislative deadline - in this case, less than three months.
3.) The study found the test "valid", which is difficult to take seriously, because validity is not a property of a test. Don't. Get. Me. Started. We know, however, that the content does not align with the assessment. The study showed, for example, that on any given test, only 65%-94% of the standards matched the assessment. The highest stakes year, third grade, has a 65% match of standards to the assessment according to page 36 of the Alpine report.
In layman's terms: the FSA includes material that our students never learned in the classroom.
4.) Best practice and Test Standards require a review of test items by Florida stakeholders. From page 46: "While a review of the items by stakeholders in Florida would be expected based on typical practice...given the rapid development timeline and policy requirements, there was insufficient time to complete the review for the 2015 administration of the FSA assessment..."
In other words, the FLDOE rushed this process. The Florida legislature developed poor policy. Your kids didn't learn the material. Sorry, folks.
5.) There is not a single mention of the Algebra 2 or Geometry content in the entire report. Not one, although they were clearly defined as expectations in the Scope of Work (see pages 2&3, below)
Did Alpine run out of time? Or were those tests even worse than the rest? We have no way of knowing. Although our legislators say that these tests "inform instruction", they have legal backup to shroud them in secrecy, meaning that we will never get to see the tests unless this statute is challenged.
- You can meet the graduation requirement with a concordant score on the ACT or SAT.
- A comparative score on the PERT meets the "required" Algebra 1 EOC test requirement.
- The FSA is punitive.
- Results are used to punish teachers, students, schools, and districts.
- The parent/guardian gets to make educational choices for your child.
- Opting Out is not about how well or poorly you believe your child will do, it's about denying the data that continues to keep this test crazy machine moving.