Representative Mayfield filed HB 877 to make legal options for parents to opt their children out of state assessments. The bill, according to the Tampa Bay Times, requires parents to file a written request to exempt their children from state wide assessments.
There are some strings attached.
Parents must arrange for their children to take an approved nationally normed test. Students who do not take the approved tests would face penalties. Districts that wish to opt out of the state assessments must also administer an approved nationally normed test. End of Course exams would be required, but they could be administered in paper and pencil format.
The nationally normed tests may be administered either online or by paper and pencil. Parents are given options on where these tests are administered.
The substitution for the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) requirement may meet the federal requirement for annual testing, but this issue was not addressed in the article. It is an important issue since federal funding is tied to annual testing.
The bill also includes the generation of percentile scores for the nationally normed tests for each of the five achievement levels. Passing is set at a level three. Determining equivalence of two dissimilar tests, one of which may be more difficult than another, introduces errors in scores. Since these tests have important consequences, the impact on students as well as on schools, districts, and teacher evaluations must be addressed.
It is not clear if this bill improves the available testing options for students.