(1) PURPOSE.—The primary purpose of the student assessment program is to provide student academic achievement and learning gains data to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and school district staff. This data is to be used by districts to improve instruction; by students, parents, and teachers to guide learning objectives; by education researchers to assess national and international education comparison data; and by the public to assess the cost benefit of the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. The program must be designed to:
(a) Assess the achievement level and annual learning gains of each student in English Language Arts and mathematics and the achievement level in all other subjects assessed.
(b) Provide data for making decisions regarding school accountability, recognition, and improvement of operations and management, including schools operating for the purpose of providing educational services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice programs.
(c) Identify the educational strengths and needs of students and the readiness of students to be promoted to the next grade level or to graduate from high school.
(d) Assess how well educational goals and curricular standards are met at the school, district, state, national, and international levels.
(e) Provide information to aid in the evaluation and development of educational programs and policies.
(2) NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION COMPARISONS.—Florida school districts shall participate in the administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or similar national or international assessments, both for the national sample and for any state-by-state comparison programs that may be initiated, as directed by the commissioner. The assessments must be conducted using the data collection procedures, student surveys, educator surveys, and other instruments included in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or similar national or international assessments being administered in Florida. The administration of such assessments shall be in addition to and separate from the administration of the statewide, standardized assessments.
(3) STATEWIDE, STANDARDIZED ASSESSMENT PROGRAM.—The Commissioner of Education shall design and implement a statewide, standardized assessment program aligned to the core curricular content established in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The commissioner also must develop or select and implement a common battery of assessment tools that will be used in all juvenile justice education programs in the state. These tools must accurately measure the core curricular content established in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Participation in the assessment program is mandatory for all school districts and all students attending public schools, including students seeking an adult high school diploma and students in Department of Juvenile Justice education programs, except as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner. If a student does not participate in the assessment program, the school district must notify the student’s parent and provide the parent with information regarding the implications of such nonparticipation. The statewide, standardized assessment program shall be designed and implemented as follows:
(a) Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) until replaced by common core assessments.—FCAT Reading shall be administered annually in grades 3 through 10; FCAT Mathematics shall be administered annually in grades 3 through 8; FCAT Writing shall be administered annually at least once at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; and FCAT Science shall be administered annually at least once at the elementary and middle grades levels. A student who has not earned a passing score on grade 10 FCAT Reading must participate in each retake of the assessment until the student earns a passing score. The commissioner shall recommend and the State Board of Education must adopt a score on both the SAT and ACT that is concordant to a passing score on grade 10 FCAT Reading that, if achieved by a student, meets the must-pass requirement for grade 10 FCAT Reading.
(b) End-of-course (EOC) assessments.—EOC assessments must be statewide, standardized, and developed or approved by the Department of Education as follows:
1. Statewide, standardized EOC assessments in mathematics shall be administered according to this subparagraph. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, all students enrolled in Algebra I must take the Algebra I EOC assessment. Except as otherwise provided in this section, beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 2011-2012 school year, a student who is enrolled in Algebra I must earn a passing score on the Algebra I EOC assessment or attain a comparative score as authorized under subsection (8) in order to earn a standard high school diploma. A student who has not earned a passing score on the Algebra I EOC assessment must participate in each retake of the assessment until the student earns a passing score. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, all students enrolled in geometry must take the Geometry EOC assessment. Middle grades students enrolled in Algebra I or geometry must take the statewide, standardized EOC assessment for those courses and are not required to take the corresponding grade-level FCAT.
2. Statewide, standardized EOC assessments in science shall be administered according to this subparagraph. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, all students enrolled in Biology I must take the Biology I EOC assessment.
3. During the 2012-2013 school year, an EOC assessment in civics education shall be administered as a field test at the middle grades level. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, each student’s performance on the statewide, standardized EOC assessment in civics education constitutes 30 percent of the student’s final course grade.
4. The commissioner may select one or more nationally developed comprehensive examinations, which may include examinations for a College Board Advanced Placement course, International Baccalaureate course, or Advanced International Certificate of Education course, or industry-approved examinations to earn national industry certifications identified in the Industry Certification Funding List, for use as EOC assessments under this paragraph if the commissioner determines that the content knowledge and skills assessed by the examinations meet or exceed the grade-level expectations for the core curricular content established for the course in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Use of any such examination as an EOC assessment must be approved by the state board.
5. Contingent upon funding provided in the General Appropriations Act, including the appropriation of funds received through federal grants, the commissioner may establish an implementation schedule for the development and administration of additional statewide, standardized EOC assessments that must be approved by the state board. If approved by the state board, student performance on such assessments constitutes 30 percent of a student’s final course grade.
6. All statewide, standardized EOC assessments must be administered online except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c).
(c) Students with disabilities; Florida Alternate Assessment.—
1. Each district school board must provide instruction to prepare students with disabilities in the core content knowledge and skills necessary for successful grade-to-grade progression and high school graduation.
2. A student with a disability, as defined in s. 1007.02(2), for whom the individual education plan (IEP) team determines that the statewide, standardized assessments under this section cannot accurately measure the student’s abilities, taking into consideration all allowable accommodations, shall have assessment results waived for the purpose of receiving a course grade and a standard high school diploma. Such waiver shall be designated on the student’s transcript. 3. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules, based upon recommendations of the commissioner, for the provision of assessment accommodations for students with disabilities and for students who have limited English proficiency.
a. Accommodations that negate the validity of a statewide, standardized assessment are not allowed during the administration of the assessment. However, instructional accommodations are allowed in the classroom if identified in a student’s IEP. Students using instructional accommodations in the classroom that are not allowed on a statewide, standardized assessment may have assessment results waived if the IEP team determines that the assessment cannot accurately measure the student’s abilities.
b. If a student is provided with instructional accommodations in the classroom that are not allowed as accommodations for statewide, standardized assessments, the district must inform the parent in writing and provide the parent with information regarding the impact on the student’s ability to meet expected performance levels. A parent must provide signed consent for a student to receive classroom instructional accommodations that would not be available or permitted on a statewide, standardized assessment and acknowledge in writing that he or she understands the implications of such instructional accommodations.
c. If a student’s IEP states that online administration of a statewide, standardized assessment will significantly impair the student’s ability to perform, the assessment shall be administered in hard copy.
4. For students with significant cognitive disabilities, the Department of Education shall provide for implementation of the Florida Alternate Assessment to accurately measure the core curricular content established in the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
(d) Common core assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.—
1. Contingent upon funding, common core assessments in ELA shall be administered to students in grades 3 through 11. Retake opportunities for the grade 10 assessment must be provided. Students taking the ELA assessments are not required to take the assessments in FCAT Reading or FCAT Writing. Common core ELA assessments shall be administered online.
2. Contingent upon funding, common core assessments in mathematics shall be administered to all students in grades 3 through 8, and common core assessments in Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II shall be administered to students enrolled in those courses. Retake opportunities must be provided for the Algebra I assessment. Students may take the common core mathematics assessments pursuant to the Credit Acceleration Program (CAP) under s. 1003.4295(3). Students taking common core assessments in mathematics are not required to take FCAT Mathematics or statewide, standardized EOC assessments in mathematics. Common core mathematics assessments shall be administered online. 3. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules establishing an implementation schedule to transition from FCAT Reading, FCAT Writing, FCAT Mathematics, and Algebra I and Geometry EOC assessments to common core assessments in English Language Arts and mathematics. The schedule must take into consideration funding, sufficient field and baseline data, access to assessments, instructional alignment, and school district readiness to administer the common core assessments online. Until the 10th grade common core ELA and Algebra I assessments become must-pass assessments, students must pass 10th grade FCAT Reading and the Algebra I EOC assessment, or achieve a concordant or comparative score as authorized under this section, in order to earn a standard high school diploma under s. 1003.4282. Students taking 10th grade FCAT Reading or the Algebra I EOC assessment are not required to take the respective common core assessments.
4. The Department of Education shall publish minimum and recommended technology requirements that include specifications for hardware, software, networking, security, and broadband capacity to facilitate school district compliance with the requirement that common core assessments be administered online.
(e) Assessment scores and achievement levels.—
1. All statewide, standardized EOC assessments and FCAT Reading, FCAT Writing, and FCAT Science shall use scaled scores and achievement levels. Achievement levels shall range from 1 through 5, with level 1 being the lowest achievement level, level 5 being the highest achievement level, and level 3 indicating satisfactory performance on an assessment. For purposes of FCAT Writing, student achievement shall be scored using a scale of 1 through 6.
2. The state board shall designate by rule a passing score for each statewide, standardized EOC and FCAT assessment. In addition, the state board shall designate a score for each statewide, standardized EOC assessment that indicates that a student is high achieving and has the potential to meet college-readiness standards by the time the student graduates from high school.
3. If the commissioner seeks to revise a statewide, standardized assessment and the revisions require the state board to modify performance level scores, including the passing score, the commissioner shall provide a copy of the proposed scores and implementation plan to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least 90 days before submission to the state board for review. Until the state board adopts the modifications by rule, the commissioner shall use calculations for scoring the assessment that adjust student scores on the revised assessment for statistical equivalence to student scores on the former assessment. The state board shall adopt by rule the passing score for the revised assessment that is statistically equivalent to the passing score on the discontinued assessment for a student who is required to attain a passing score on the discontinued assessment. The commissioner may, with approval of the state board, discontinue administration of the former assessment upon the graduation, based on normal student progression, of students participating in the final regular administration of the former assessment. If the commissioner revises a statewide, standardized assessment and the revisions require the state board to modify the passing score, only students taking the assessment for the first time after the rule is adopted are affected.
(f) Assessment schedules and reporting of results.—The Commissioner of Education shall establish schedules for the administration of assessments and the reporting of student assessment results. The commissioner shall consider the observance of religious and school holidays when developing the schedule. By August 1 of each year, the commissioner shall notify each school district in writing and publish on the department’s website the assessment and reporting schedules for, at a minimum, the school year following the upcoming school year. The assessment and reporting schedules must provide the earliest possible reporting of student assessment results to the school districts. Assessment results for FCAT Reading and FCAT Mathematics must be made available no later than the week of June 8. The administration of FCAT Writing and the Florida Alternate Assessment may be no earlier than the week of March 1. School districts shall administer assessments in accordance with the schedule established by the commissioner.
(g) Prohibited activities.—A district school board shall prohibit each public school from suspending a regular program of curricula for purposes of administering practice assessments or engaging in other assessment-preparation activities for a statewide, standardized assessment. However, a district school board may authorize a public school to engage in the following assessment-preparation activities:
1. Distributing to students sample assessment books and answer keys published by the Department of Education.
2. Providing individualized instruction in assessment-taking strategies, without suspending the school’s regular program of curricula, for a student who scores Level 1 or Level 2 on a prior administration of an assessment.
3. Providing individualized instruction in the content knowledge and skills assessed, without suspending the school’s regular program of curricula, for a student who scores Level 1 or Level 2 on a prior administration of an assessment or a student who, through a diagnostic assessment administered by the school district, is identified as having a deficiency in the content knowledge and skills assessed.
4. Administering a practice assessment or engaging in other assessment-preparation activities that are determined necessary to familiarize students with the organization of the assessment, the format of assessment items, and the assessment directions or that are otherwise necessary for the valid and reliable administration of the assessment, as set forth in rules adopted by the State Board of Education with specific reference to this paragraph.
(h) Contracts for assessments.—The commissioner shall provide for the assessments to be developed or obtained, as appropriate, through contracts and project agreements with private vendors, public vendors, public agencies, postsecondary educational institutions, or school districts. The commissioner may enter into contracts for the continued administration of the assessments authorized and funded by the Legislature. Contracts may be initiated in 1 fiscal year and continue into the next fiscal year and may be paid from the appropriations of either or both fiscal years. The commissioner may negotiate for the sale or lease of tests, scoring protocols, test scoring services, and related materials developed pursuant to law.
(4) SCHOOL ASSESSMENT PROGRAMS.—Each public school shall participate in the statewide, standardized assessment program in accordance with the assessment and reporting schedules and the minimum and recommended technology requirements published by the Commissioner of Education. District school boards shall not establish school calendars that conflict with or jeopardize implementation of the assessment program. All district school boards shall report assessment results as required by the state management information system. Performance data shall be analyzed and reported to parents, the community, and the state. Student performance data shall be used by districts in developing objectives for the school improvement plan, evaluating instructional personnel and administrative personnel, assigning staff, allocating resources, acquiring instructional materials and technology, implementing performance-based budgeting, and promoting and assigning students to educational programs. The analysis of student performance data must also identify strengths and needs in the educational program and trends over time. The analysis must be used in conjunction with the budgetary planning processes developed pursuant to s. 1008.385 and the development of remediation programs.
(5) REQUIRED ANALYSES.—The commissioner shall provide, at a minimum, statewide, standardized assessment data analysis showing student achievement levels and learning gains by teacher, school, and school district.
(6) LOCAL ASSESSMENTS.—
(a) Measurement of student learning gains in all subjects and grade levels, except those subjects and grade levels measured under the statewide, standardized assessment program described in this section, is the responsibility of the school districts.
(b) Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, each school district shall administer for each course offered in the district a student assessment that measures mastery of the content, as described in the state-adopted course description, at the necessary level of rigor for the course. Such assessments may include:
1. Statewide assessments.
2. Other standardized assessments, including nationally recognized standardized assessments.
3. Industry certification examinations.
4. District-developed or district-selected end-of-course assessments.
(c) The Commissioner of Education shall identify methods to assist and support districts in the development and acquisition of assessments required under this subsection. Methods may include developing item banks, facilitating the sharing of developed tests among school districts, acquiring assessments from state and national curriculum-area organizations, and providing technical assistance in best professional practices of test development based upon state-adopted curriculum standards, administration, and security.
(d) Each school district shall establish schedules for the administration of any district-mandated assessment and approve the schedules as an agenda item at a district school board meeting. The school district shall publish the testing schedules on its website, clearly specifying the district-mandated assessments, and report the schedules to the Department of Education by October 1 of each year.
(7) CONCORDANT SCORES FOR 10TH GRADE FCAT READING.—Until the state transitions to common core English Language Arts assessments, the Commissioner of Education must identify scores on the SAT and ACT that if achieved satisfy the graduation requirement that a student pass 10th grade FCAT Reading. The commissioner may identify concordant scores on other assessments as well. If the content or scoring procedures change for 10th grade FCAT Reading, new concordant scores must be determined. If new concordant scores are not timely adopted, the last-adopted concordant scores remain in effect until such time as new scores are adopted. The state board shall adopt concordant scores in rule.
(8) COMPARATIVE SCORES FOR END-OF-COURSE (EOC) ASSESSMENTS.—The Commissioner of Education must identify one or more comparative scores for the Algebra I EOC assessment and may identify comparative scores for the other EOC assessments. If the content or scoring procedures change for the EOC assessments, new comparative scores must be determined. If new comparative scores are not timely adopted, the last-adopted comparative scores remain in effect until such time as new scores are adopted. The state board shall adopt comparative scores in rule.
(9) REPORTS.—The Department of Education shall annually provide a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which shall include the following:
(a) Longitudinal performance of students in reading and mathematics.
(b) Longitudinal performance of students by grade level in reading and mathematics.
(c) Longitudinal performance regarding efforts to close the achievement gap.
(d) Other student performance data based on national norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests, if available; national assessments, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress; and international assessments.
(e) The number of students who after 8th grade enroll in adult education rather than other secondary education.
(f) Any plan or intent to establish or implement new statewide, standardized assessments.
(10) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement this section.