Volusia County School Board Candidate John Hill Discussion of Common Core Tests

As a Family Physician I have a responsibility to plainly communicate with my patients about their health and their responsibilities to maintain their good health.  A clear and concise message to each patient helps them follow my recommendations and maintain wellness. My approach to Common Core is to both study and understand this complex program and provide leadership...and some understanding to the families who will ultimately have to live with it.

After having read much on the issue, I think I have found one simple statement that sums up the concerns of implementing Common Core.  The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss has brought out a clear point in her article that references "The white paper, called "The Ramifications of Standardized Testing on our Public Schools," was just released by the Central Florida School Board Coalition, a group of top officials from 10 school districts."(April 18,2012)
The article states:
In 1998 (after its initial field testing), the first FCAT was field tested in grades 4, 5, 8, and 10 in reading and math and the first Florida Writes exam was tested in grades 4, 8, and 10. As of 2011, testing has progressed to include:
FCAT 2.0 Reading in grades 3 10
FCAT 2.0 Reading in grades 3 10
 FCAT 2.0 Math in grades 3 8
FCAT Writing in grades 4, 8, and 10
FCAT Science in grades 5, 8, and 11
FAIR testing (K-2) one to one with teacher  
FAIR testing (3-12) computer based testing
NAEP in grades 4, 8, and 12
EOC Algebra 1 in grades 8, 9, and 10
EOC Biology in grade 8
EOC Geometry in grade 10
U.S. History in grade 11
PERT Math in grade 11
PERT Reading in grade 11
PERT Writing in grade 11
FCAT Reading & Math retakes through grade 12
PERT retakes through grade 12
An enormous increase simply in the sheer quantity of testing has occurred in the State of Florida within the last decade and a half.  Moreover, the use of the results of tests has changed.  For example, as of 1999, FCAT results assign school grades. In 2001, the Florida State Board of Education established the FCAT passing score as a requirement of the regular high school diploma. In 2002, AYP (as part of the NCLB law expectation of one hundred percent proficiency. by 2014) was added to as part of the school score.                                        

Student performance bars have been subsequently raised to set passing scores for class. Students are required to have a passing score for class credit in Algebra 1, Geometry, and Biology, and required passing scores for college class placements. Arguably, the standards have become too high to actually meet.                                                                                                                       
In 2011 only 39% of 10th grade students passed the FCAT 2.0 Reading. This has also come to include mandated grade retentions, mandated additional instructional time, and mandated intensive remediation classes for students in middle and high school levels. Additionally, school grades now include FCAT Science grades, learning gains within the lowest twenty-fifth percentile, graduation rates, and accelerated coursework offerings. Within the last fifteen years, the sheer quantity of testing, the standards of passing, and the use of testing have increased well beyond their initial beginnings and limits.

Presenting this time line of events that the Florida State's FCAT program developed into.....is it wise to endorse the Federal government's attempt at standardized learning with their track record of IRS scandals, immigration failure, public health care that has rules that change by the week, restrictions on public information and the government's shocking approach to veterans...will they treat our children with the same indifference?

I don't think it is a wise decision to accept the Federal Program (Common Core) considering the track record it has had.
My patients can understand...too much government is not healthy for them.
Dr. John Hill
School Board Candidate for Volusia County School Dist. 1

Final Note from the article
The Florida Department of Education's stated purposes of student assessment testing programs do not align with the current actual uses of its programs. According to the FDOE website, FCAT "was designed to measure achievement of the Sunshine State Standards." Moreover, the stated primary goal of these assessments is 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." Neither of these goals refers to assigning eligibility or grades for the students or assessing the public schools based on these assessments; they only discuss the informing of students' progress and achievements. These stated goals are not negative in content; rather they simply do not match the current functions and usage of Florida's student assessment testing. They were not intended to be punitive but are used as such.

...will the Federal government's "Common Core" be any different...or worse?

Posted in Testing. Tagged as Common Core, Dr. John Hill, FAIR, FCAT, NAEP, PERT, testing, Volusia County.


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