The results are in for the end-of-course assessment tests for Florida’s students, and the state’s students have seen a slight drop in some subjects, some have seen slight improvements, and other scores have remained stagnant.
The 2014-2015 school year was the first year all of Florida’s students were fully immersed in the state’s newest education standards, the Common Core-aligned Florida Standards, but end-of-course assessments were more closely tied with Florida’s previous standards.
Florida’s students saw a drop in science end-of-course results, with 65 percent of students in grades 6 to 12 passing the biology EOC assessment. 2015’s scores are 3 points lower than last year’s results.
An even higher percentage of students -- 12 percent -- scored at the lowest level on the assessment (Level 1) than in 2014 (9 percent) while a lower percentage of students (28 percent) scored a Level 4 on the Biology 1 EOC assessment.
Some of the state’s largest school districts, like Miami-Dade, Orange and Duval school districts, all saw drops in student performance on the science EOC assessment. Franklin School District had the largest decline in scores, with only 51 percent passing the EOC test.
When it came to statewide performance on the history EOC, results were flat across the board, neither improving nor decreasing since last year.
Florida did see some upticks in the statewide EOC test in the civics EOC test, with 75 percent scoring a Level 3 or higher. That number is a 3 percent increase from last year.
End-of-course assessments have significant importance for students, especially high schoolers. The results of the tests count for 30 percent of a student’s final grade.
Many school districts decided to get rid of end-of-course exams earlier this year after hearing complaints from teachers, parents and even state lawmakers that there was too much standardized testing in Florida schools. Miami-Dade decided to get rid of nearly 300 EOC tests in April, specifically honed in on elementary school exams.
Other districts followed suit, though it’s not entirely certain whether they will opt to get rid of higher-level EOC tests as well. State lawmakers created legislation during this year’s regular legislative session to get rid of the provision which made EOC tests mandatory.
The EOC tests were also riddled with problems this year, with several technical malfunctions leaving some students unable to complete the test or login to the computer-based assessment at all.
Results from the Florida Standards Assessment, the new test replacing the FCAT, will not be available until later this year. An independent contractor, Alpine Testing Solutions, is currently reviewing the validity of the FSA. The validity test must be completed by Sept. 1, after which the Florida Department of Education will decide how to proceed with releasing student grades.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen