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Press Release

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DOE Press Office

State Board of Education Convenes Advisory Task Force to the Commissioner of Education

~ Review to examine effect of assessments on school grades ~

Tallahassee, Fla., June 18, 2013 - At today's State Board of Education meeting in Tampa, Chairman Gary Chartrand convened an advisory task force to the commissioner to review FCAT 2.0 and End-of-Course assessment results prior to school grades being calculated. The task force will consist of school superintendents and education, data and research experts who will dig into the impact of this year's assessment results and determine the validity and accuracy of the calculations.

"Florida's schools have become the envy of the nation due to our cohesive insistence on high standards. We need to make sure Florida's accountability system is credible and accurately measures student learning," said Chair Chartrand. "Parents, educators and the public deserve to have a clear message of what is happening in their child's school and I am sure the task force will take a very careful, considerate and thoughtful approach in examining the issues."

Changes that affect this year's school grades include new achievement levels for FCAT 2.0 Science and End-of-Course assessments in Biology 1 and Geometry, raising the writing standard used in school grades up to 3.5 from 3.0 last year, expiration of the provision that school grades not drop more than one letter grade, requiring that schools must show that the lowest-performing students are making progress in both reading and math, and including test performance and learning gains of students who attend alternative schools.

"I want to thank the superintendents for their support of our accountability system and their problem-solving approach," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "I look forward to working closely with them to find answers to their concerns."

The task force's membership will be assembled within a week.

In other action today, board members heard an update on the transition to the Common Core State Standards, including readiness for computer-based assessments, bandwidth testing and funding plans. The board also approved amendments to the rule governing supplemental educational services and the state's differentiated accountability system, Voluntary Prekindergarten provider good cause exemptions, and turnaround plans for struggling schools. In preparation for the 2014 legislative session, board members began the process of identifying priorities for the legislative budget request and approved the Florida College System institutional goals on performance metrics. The board also voted in favor of the Palm Beach School District's decision regarding Palm Beach Collegiate Charter School appeal.

The board also approved four Florida college baccalaureate degree proposals, two of which are in response to Governor Scott's challenge to create degrees for $10,000 or less. Approvals were for a bachelor of applied science degree in management and supervision from Northwest Florida State College, a bachelor of science in cardiopulmonary sciences from Valencia College, and a bachelor of applied science in supervision and management and a bachelor of science in nursing from Pasco-Hernando Community College.