Wrightslaw note: Some FL DOE links in this article are no longer available. During the 2010-11 school year, Florida began the transition from the FCAT to the FCAT 2.0 and Florida End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments. Beginning in Spring 2015, the Florida Standards Assessments will be administered.
I just returned from a meeting at my son's school where I was informed about changes in promotion and retention for grades K-5. My son is in 2nd grade and has a IEP. He has been labeled PDD-NOS.
The State of Florida has a test called the FCAT-SSS which has been taken by regular ed children. If they do not pass with a certain percentile, they will be retained. I was told that this year, these rules will be applied to students with disabilities.
My son is doing well in school and is capable of passing the test. However, because of his disability, he is more likely to have an "off day," not pass the test, and have to repeat his current grade.
It is ridiculous that a single test can determine if a child is promoted or retained.
The school personnel advised me of alternatives to the test, such as a second similar test. There are non-test alternatives, but the state has not yet determined what they are. I was told that this is unlikely to help in my son's situation.
My questions are:
1. Have you heard of this piece of legislation in Florida?
2. Is this legal, with respect to IDEA or other legislation for disabled children?
3. Why do we spend so much time on IEPs and teacher training to help kids with disabilities if one test can disrupt everything we are working toward?
4. Do you know of any special interest groups that are fighting this legislation?
5. What can I do to change this ridiculous legislation?
answers and ideas are most appreciated.
answers these questions. What she learned may surprise you.
I found that retention of 2nd graders is NOT a state requirement. Florida requires retention for 3rd grade students who do not pass the FCAT test. Any other retention plans are local.
You should read everything about this law on the Florida website. I am including several links at the end of this article.
For promotion to grade 4, there are six good cause exemptions for students scoring at a Level 1 on the Grade 3 FCAT 2.0 Reading assessment. The grade 3 good cause exemptions also require districts to implement a policy for the midyear promotion of retained grade 3 students.
Remember that new or changing law causes confusion, and makes it far more likely that school personnel are giving parents like you inaccurate information and advice. Make sure you verify the information you are getting.
You may find that your local school board is requiring this. It is possible that the educators at your child's school think this is state policy, and the school board does not have a policy about it at all. You need to find out.
If your school board has a retention policy, ask for a copy of the policy along with the minutes of the meeting when it was approved. Ask them about the research they used in formulating the grade retention policy.
you find that your school board is requiring this, are they aware that
there is absolutely no research to show that retention is appropriate
for any group of students? If they are not, you need to bring this to
When you find useful information, pass it on to other parents, teachers, administrators, legislators, and the media. As you collect information, put the links or mailing addresses for these resources into a Word document. In no time at all you will have enough information to make a flyer that is customized to the specific issues affecting children in your area.
Pass it on. Leave the flyer in libraries. Pass it out in the carpool line.
Send a flyer to all the parents you know and ask them to make 10 copies to send to 10 people they know. Ask them to make another pile of flyers to leave in their local libraries.
Pretty soon, everyone interested will have accurate information and the documents they need to back up their positions.
Council of Parents, Attorneys & Advocates
asked about special interest groups who are fighting for children with
The COPAA membership brochure is another thing you can pass out to every other parent in the same boat. The e-mail discussion list on COPAA is a good source of ideas and guidance.
I hope this helps.