The new 3rd Grade Florida Standards Assessment, 3rd Grade Retention and Success by Third Grade efforts make the Opt-Out movement very confusing.
On one hand, the new Third Grade Florida Standards Assessment will be much harder than ever. I expect 25 to 30% of all the students taking the 3rd Grade Reading FSA to only achieve a Level 1, and bring 3rd grade retention into play. I expect 75 to 80% of the students with specific learning disabilities to only achieve a Level 1
For 2015 only, the percentage of 3rd graders who may be subjected to 3rd grade retention will be limited to 19% — the same percent of students who were in this group in 2014. The reason is that the cut scores for who will be at Level 1 will not be decided until late 2015, when a group meets to review the scores and level settings.
The law says that a student who only achieves a Level 1 and bring 3rd grade retention into play.
The law creates 6 Good Cause Exemptions that may allow students to be promoted to 4th grade.
The two ways forward that most students could qualify are:
– Your child can take an alternate assessment. If one uses the state option, that would require a student to be at the 45th percentile or above
– Passing a portfolio, where your child must show mastery of all the standards required for a 3rd grader to master
– Increasing your child’s reading comprehension so their reading comprehension is on grade level
As a parent looks at the Opt-out option, it is important to recognize both the general implications and the implications on 3rd grade retention.
General Implications of Opting-Out
– Your child will not have a score and may be put into remedial reading or math the following year
– The school must have 95% of the students taking a test, or their grade will be decreased
Specific Implications on 3rd Grade Retention
Passing the 3rd Grade Reading FSA is far easier than any of the Good Cause Exemptions — therefore, opting-out will dramatically increase the chances of 3rd grade retention coming into play
If your child is opting-out, there may be some direct or indirect negative feedback from the schools, who are held accountable for testing all students
Grade Retention is the third worst fear for students behind losing a parent and going blind
Positive Impact of Opting-Out
The new Florida Standards Assessments have not been piloted in Florida, we have no ideas what the passing rates will be, and the pressure on students, parents, teachers and others is intense.
There is a strong desire to send a message that says, “Stop this madness”
Our Thoughts on 3rd Grade Retention and Opting-Out
While opting-out may seem right, the impact on your child may be so severe, that you may not want to have your 3rd grade opt-out
If you do have your 3rd grader opt-out, you may want to start the process now to start the portfolio and invest in your child so they can read on grade level by the beginning of 4th grade