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Florida Parents Sue State To Challenge Standardized Testing

Aug 12, 2016

A group of parents from across Florida,  including several from Tampa Bay, filed a lawsuit this week challenging the state’s reading retention law for third-grade students.

Fourteen parents whose children were held back after they "opted out" of Florida's standardized tests say the law relies too much on a single exam.

Under state statutes, third-graders must get a certain score on the reading portion of the Florida Standards Assessment to move on to the fourth grade.

Cindy Hamilton is with the Opt Out Florida Network said reading comprehension should be evaluated using more than one metric.

“Time spent after 180 days with a professional educator should be more important than one test score,” she said. “We want multiple forms of assessment. We want teacher evaluations of the students, projects and daily classroom work to all have weight in the decision to choose to retain.”

Meanwhile, proponents say testing is a fair indication of how well students comprehend learning.

Pasco, Sarasota and Hernando counties are among the seven school districts being sued, along with the Florida Department of Education and the State Board of Education.

The lawsuit asks a Leon County court to block the decision to keep the students in the third grade, saying the children will be "irreparably harmed" if they are held back. It points to research showing that students who are held back become isolated and lose interest in school.