FAQs For Private Schools Participating In the State Assessment Program
Private School Participation
- Which private schools may participate?
Private schools that participate in the Florida Tax Credit or Gardiner Scholarship Programs and have at least one participating student enrolled may administer the statewide assessments to all students who attend the private school in grades 3 through 10. There are contractual caps in place that limit the number of students and schools, as well as a registration/request deadline of March 1 for testing in the following school year.
- How will private schools be "validated" for participation?
Private schools must submit a completed application no later than March 1 in order to participate in the state assessment program for the subsequent school year. Applications will be evaluated, and eligible schools selected, subject to contractual cap limits.
- Are there costs to participating private schools that wish to give state assessments?
No. Section 1002.395, F.S., requires that there be no cost to participating private schools that meet the eligibility requirements (schools with proper facilities and equipment, sufficient staffing, etc.)
- Which students may participate?
Private schools identify the grades/subjects and estimate participation numbers on the application to participate in the state assessment program. All students in the identified grade/subject should be tested.
- What happens if we get new students at the school and our participation numbers go up - can these students participate?
There are total student and school contractual cap limits in place that may restrict the ability of a private school to administer assessments beyond the numbers requested.
- Will the FSA meet the NRT requirement for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC)?
Yes. 2012 legislative changes to Section 1002.395, F.S., allow use of state assessments, including FSA and End-of-Course Assessments (EOC) to satisfy testing requirements for FTC.
- What if we change our mind about using state assessments after being approved as an administration site?
You will not be required to administer state assessments; however, failure to notify the Department of Education and school district in a timely manner of intent not to participate in a requested assessment administration may impact future participation in the state assessment program.
Preparing to Administer State Assessments
- What is the first administration private schools will participate in?
Eligible schools may request participation in regular assessments beginning with the Winter End-of-Course Assessment administration following the March 1 application.
- Who will train private school personnel?
School districts are required to provide training opportunities for selected staff from eligible, participating private schools. Each private school must assign a certified educator to serve as the school assessment coordinator and attend district training. The school assessment coordinator will train private school administrators and testing staff. Testing staff must also read and follow the appropriate manuals and any additional instructions from the Department and the school district.
- Must we administer the FSA?
No. While the test score (NRT) reporting is mandatory for the FTC and Gardiner Scholarship Programs, participation in the administration of state assessments is not required. Additionally, any assessment included in Section 1008.22, F.S., may be given by the eligible, participating private school if requested and approved.
- May schools administer only to scholarship students?
No. You are not required to administer all assessments to students at your school. However, if you choose to administer an assessment, you should administer it to all students in the grade/subject covered by the assessment. (For example, Grade 7 Reading should be administered to all Grade 7 students.)
- What if parents don't want their student to take the FSA?
The Florida Department of Education does not regulate private schools. The administration of a private school is responsible for student assessment policy.
- How will private schools receive student score reports?
The contracted test provider will issue score reports directly to the public school district, which will then make the score reports available to private schools. Eligible, participating private schools will work with districts to manage the distribution and retrieval of test materials, including student score reports.
- When will our families receive scores?
Eligible, participating private schools will be responsible for providing score reports to parents. Private school student scores will be available approximately three weeks after scores for students in public schools.
- Are we required to submit scores to Learning Systems Institute?
If your school chooses to use the state assessment to fulfill the testing requirement for the FTC or Gardiner scholarship programs, then your school is responsible for submitting scores of scholarship students to LSI.
- Will participating private schools be included in district and state results?
- Will our school receive a grade?
At this time, private schools participating in state assessments will not receive a school grade. However, beginning with score reporting for the 2011-12 school year, statute requires the independent research organization to annually report on the year-to-year learning gains of FTC students according to each participating private school in which there are at least 30 students who have scores for tests administered for 2 consecutive years at that private school.
- Will the test scores of either my students or my school be viewed by school district personnel?
All parties must preserve the confidentiality of such information and must report student performance data in a manner that protects the rights of students and parents as mandated in 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
- Will passing the FSA guarantee placement from our school to the public school?
Placement of students that may transfer from a private school to a public school will follow district policies as outlined in the student progression plan.