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Education

State Board of Education Hears from Test Critics

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Robin Sussingham
"Opt-Out" Member at Board of Education meeting

Representatives of those in Florida who want to opt out of standardized testing in public schools were out in force at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting in Orlando.

The Board met to discuss Florida Standards Assessment "cut scores," which are the cutoffs for different achievement levels on the test, including what will be considered a passing score.

Critics of the test say that too much is riding on it. Cindy Hamilton, an organizer of the Opt Out group, says "teacher performance pay, school grades, pass, fail, remediation, retention, and denial of diploma are all riding on one test. And until they address what they do with the data, and remove the stakes, really nothing is going to change."

One board member said he considered the setting of cut scores the most important function of the Board of Education.

"We have a major responsibility to our kids in the state of Florida," said Gary Chartrand, "to get this right."

Vice Chair John Padget said he was concerned about the disparity between the number of students who would pass the Florida Standards Assessment test, using the recommended cut scores, and the much fewer students considered proficient according to the  National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)  standardized test scores, which were released today.