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Two Florida school districts–Sarasota and Manatee–have warned parents their children will not be promoted if they opt out of state testing.
The only way to opt out of the state test is to take a state test before opting out. Alice in Wonderland?
Even students who have earned high marks all year will be retained in grade.
“Third-grade students in Sarasota and Manatee counties who refused to take the state’s standardized English Language Arts test and a subsequent alternative test will be held back, school officials say.
“District officials have contacted several parents saying that because their students opted out of taking the state test, called the Florida Standards Assessment, they must take an alternative test to progress from third grade to fourth. If students do not take the test, officials said they will have to repeat third grade.
“School districts across the state are wrestling with what to do with third-grade students who refused to take, or opted out of, the Florida Standards Assessments. A state statute mandates that students take the test, but vague language makes it difficult for districts to determine what alternatives can be used to promote a student — namely whether a portfolio can be used in lieu of the tests.
“Counties such as Pasco, Hillsborough and Charlotte have allowed students who took neither the FSA or the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition, to progress to fourth grade. But districts including Orange, Sarasota and Manatee require students who did not take the FSA or the SAT-10 to repeat third grade.”
The tests, with all their flaws, are more important in those counties than teachers’ assessments of their students or parental rights.
Parents have the right to choose a new school but not the right to refuse standardized tests.