Governor DeSantis filed a request to waive federal requirements for state testing in 2021. If approved, state tests would not be administered. Specific federal waivers include:
- Implement and report the results of the state’s accountability system;
- Calculate progress toward long-term goals and measurements of interim progress or indicators;
- Meaningfully differentiate among public schools using data from the 2020-2021 school year;
- Account for an assessment participation rate below 95 percent; and
- Identify schools for comprehensive support and improvement, targeted support and improvement, and additional targeted support and improvement based on data from the 2020-2021 school year.
Florida would still be required to:
- Continue to support previously identified schools in the 2021-2022 school year;
- Resume school identification in the fall of 2022; and
- Publically report the percentage of students, by subgroup, not assessed and the percentage chronically absent.
- The waiver application does not exempt Florida from state accountability requirements. The results of state assessments are crucial to help identify students who need specialized supports, help teachers tailor their instructional delivery to support individual student needs, and ensure equity in opportunity and closing achievement gaps for millions of Florida’s at-risk students.
For the most up-to-date data, FDOE will report school performance data, disaggregated by student subgroups, at www.knowyourschoolsfl.org.
Florida has its own requirements based on state test scores. DeSantis’ emergency order will allow districts to opt out of reporting school grades, school improvement ratings, and learning gains associated with teacher evaluations. Districts will be allowed to determine if students should be promoted or should graduate from high school.
These waivers are only for one year. It is a good time to reevaluate the entire testing and accountability system. There is no good reason to require expensive annual testing at every grade level. The way Florida uses those scores to rank schools needs to be rethought.