Only 14% of the students with a specific learning disability – dyslexia passed the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT in 2014.
In 2015, the 3rd grade Reading FCAT will be replaced by the 3rd Grade Reading Florida Standards Assessment.
The percent of students with a specific learning disability or dyslexia passing this test is likely to drop to 5 to 7%, and 75 to 80% of these students may be subject to 3rd Grade Retention.
Commissioner Stewart and others have agreed to hold teachers, schools and districts harmless from the negative consequences of this first year test, but students with dyslexia or a specific learning disability and other struggling students will feel the full force of this much more difficult test. 3rd Grade Retention Policy will be in full force in 2015.
As one of the leaders in the learning disabilities community, I formed a coalition with my colleagues to try and get the Commissioner of Education’s attention. We had a 7 hour-meeting with former Commissioner Robinson, and I had a half hour meeting with Commissioner Stewart, without either side changing their position.
There appears to be a belief in Tallahassee that scores will be similar to last year. I think that is like saying that a Category 5 Hurricane is heading right towards you and you think it will have no more impact than a Tropical Storm.
New York was the first state to introduce a Common Core Assessment, and their passing rate for all students dropped from 55 to 31%, and for students with disabilities the percent at grade level dropped from 16 to 6%.
I recognize that the Commissioner and some teachers and principals are more optimistic than I am..
I have a very good nose for smelling risk trends and I have no problem sharing my concerns.
I would consider the risk of passing rates plummeting for both all students and all sub-groups to be close to 100%, unless the Commissioner were to lower the passing scores.
Several reasons why the 2015 passing rates on the Florida Standards Assessments are likely to drop like a rock, especially for students with specific learning disabilities and dyslexia:
– The reading passages under the new Florida State Standards are much harder
– States like New York have seen their performance drop the first year and not recover the second year
– Most students with a specific learning disability or dyslexia who passed in prior years just got by. Wit the tougher passages and questions, watch out
– Very little different has been done. The State of Florida has increased their investment in Professional Development, but the full force has yet to be felt. Little has been done to train parents, to warn parents or to improve either the IEP (Individualized Education Plan Process or the allowed accommodations — although there is some time left to improve this.
If I were a parent of a 3rd grader with dyslexia or a 3rd grader with a learning disability I would be taking aggressive action — in the next post, we will discuss what an Informed, Empowered and Proactive Parent could and should do.