(1) INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature that each student’s progression from one grade to another be determined, in part, upon satisfactory performance in reading, writing, science, and mathematics; that district school board policies facilitate student achievement; that each student and his or her parent be informed of that student’s academic progress; and that students have access to educational options that provide academically challenging coursework or accelerated instruction pursuant to s. 1002.3105. (2) COMPREHENSIVE STUDENT PROGRESSION PLAN.—Each district school board shall establish a comprehensive plan for student progression which must:
(a) Provide standards for evaluating each student’s performance, including how well he or she masters the performance standards approved by the State Board of Education.
(b) Provide specific levels of performance in reading, writing, science, and mathematics for each grade level, including the levels of performance on statewide assessments as defined by the commissioner, below which a student must receive remediation or be retained within an intensive program that is different from the previous year’s program and that takes into account the student’s learning style.
(c) Provide appropriate alternative placement for a student who has been retained 2 or more years.
(d)1. List the student eligibility and procedural requirements established by the school district for whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration that would result in a student attending a different school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(2)(b). 2. Notify parents and students of the school district’s process by which a parent may request student participation in whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, or subject-matter acceleration that would result in a student attending a different school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(4)(b)2. (e)1. Advise parents and students that additional ACCEL options may be available at the student’s school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105. 2. Advise parents and students to contact the principal at the student’s school for information related to student eligibility requirements for whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration when the promotion or acceleration occurs within the principal’s school; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; and any other ACCEL options offered by the principal, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(2)(a). 3. Advise parents and students to contact the principal at the student’s school for information related to the school’s process by which a parent may request student participation in whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration when the promotion or acceleration occurs within the principal’s school; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; and any other ACCEL options offered by the principal, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(4)(b)1. (f) Advise parents and students of the early graduation options under s. 1003.4281. (g) List, or incorporate by reference, all dual enrollment courses contained within the dual enrollment articulation agreement established pursuant to s. 1007.271(21). (h) Provide instructional sequences by which students in kindergarten through high school may attain progressively higher levels of skill in the use of digital tools and applications. The instructional sequences must include participation in curricular and instructional options and the demonstration of competence of standards required pursuant to ss. 1003.41 and 1003.4203 through attainment of industry certifications and other means of demonstrating credit requirements identified under ss. 1002.3105, 1003.4203, and 1003.4282. (3) ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES.—District school boards shall allocate remedial and supplemental instruction resources to students in the following priority:
(a) Students who are deficient in reading by the end of grade 3.
(b) Students who fail to meet performance levels required for promotion consistent with the district school board’s plan for student progression required in paragraph (2)(b).
(4) ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION.— (a) Each student must participate in the statewide, standardized assessment program required by s. 1008.22. Each student who does not meet specific levels of performance on the required assessments as determined by the district school board or who scores below Level 3 on the statewide, standardized Reading assessment or, upon implementation, the English Language Arts assessment or on the statewide, standardized Mathematics assessments in grades 3 through 8 and the Algebra I EOC assessment must be provided with additional diagnostic assessments to determine the nature of the student’s difficulty, the areas of academic need, and strategies for appropriate intervention and instruction as described in paragraph (b). (b) The school in which the student is enrolled must develop, in consultation with the student’s parent, and must implement a progress monitoring plan. A progress monitoring plan is intended to provide the school district and the school flexibility in meeting the academic needs of the student and to reduce paperwork. A student who is not meeting the school district or state requirements for proficiency in reading and mathematics shall be covered by one of the following plans to target instruction and identify ways to improve his or her academic achievement:
1. A federally required student plan such as an individual education plan;
2. A schoolwide system of progress monitoring for all students; or
3. An individualized progress monitoring plan.
The plan chosen must be designed to assist the student or the school in meeting state and district expectations for proficiency. If the student has been identified as having a deficiency in reading, the K-12 comprehensive reading plan required by s. 1011.62(9) shall include instructional and support services to be provided to meet the desired levels of performance. District school boards may require low-performing students to attend remediation programs held before or after regular school hours or during the summer if transportation is provided.
(c) Upon subsequent evaluation, if the documented deficiency has not been remediated, the student may be retained. Each student who does not meet the minimum performance expectations defined by the Commissioner of Education for the statewide assessment tests in reading, writing, science, and mathematics must continue to be provided with remedial or supplemental instruction until the expectations are met or the student graduates from high school or is not subject to compulsory school attendance.
(5) READING DEFICIENCY AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.—
(a) Any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, based upon locally determined or statewide assessments conducted in kindergarten or grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3, or through teacher observations, must be given intensive reading instruction immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency. The student’s reading proficiency must be reassessed by locally determined assessments or through teacher observations at the beginning of the grade following the intensive reading instruction. The student must continue to be provided with intensive reading instruction until the reading deficiency is remedied.
(b) If a student’s reading deficiency is not remedied by the end of grade 3, as demonstrated by scoring Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized assessment required under s. 1008.22 for grade 3, the student must be retained. (c) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be notified in writing of the following:
1. That his or her child has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading.
2. A description of the current services that are provided to the child.
3. A description of the proposed supplemental instructional services and supports that will be provided to the child that are designed to remediate the identified area of reading deficiency.
4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
5. Strategies for parents to use in helping their child succeed in reading proficiency.
6. That the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for grade promotion.
7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as being at risk of retention may request that the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
8. The district’s specific criteria and policies for midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a retained student at any time during the year of retention once the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
(6) ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL PROMOTION.—
(a) No student may be assigned to a grade level based solely on age or other factors that constitute social promotion.
(b) The district school board may only exempt students from mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), for good cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers with the implementation of reading strategies for students promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to be successful in improving reading among students 1who have reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions are limited to the following:
1. Limited English proficient students who have had less than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other Languages program.
2. Students with disabilities whose individual education plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of s. 1008.212.
3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading or English Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of Education.
4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on the statewide, standardized Reading assessment or, upon implementation, the English Language Arts assessment.
5. Students with disabilities who take the statewide, standardized Reading assessment or, upon implementation, the English Language Arts assessment and who have an individual education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the student has received intensive remediation in reading or English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
6. Students who have received intensive reading intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
7. Students who have received intensive remediation in reading or English Language Arts for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. Intensive instruction for students so promoted must include an altered instructional day that includes specialized diagnostic information and specific reading strategies for each student. The district school board shall assist schools and teachers to implement reading strategies that research has shown to be successful in improving reading among low-performing readers.
(c) Requests for good cause exemptions for students from the mandatory retention requirement as described in subparagraphs (b)3. and 4. shall be made consistent with the following:
1. Documentation shall be submitted from the student’s teacher to the school principal that indicates that the promotion of the student is appropriate and is based upon the student’s academic record. In order to minimize paperwork requirements, such documentation shall consist only of the existing progress monitoring plan, individual educational plan, if applicable, report card, or student portfolio.
2. The school principal shall review and discuss such recommendation with the teacher and make the determination as to whether the student should be promoted or retained. If the school principal determines that the student should be promoted, the school principal shall make such recommendation in writing to the district school superintendent. The district school superintendent shall accept or reject the school principal’s recommendation in writing.
(7) SUCCESSFUL PROGRESSION FOR RETAINED THIRD GRADE STUDENTS.—
(a) Students retained under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b) must be provided intensive interventions in reading to ameliorate the student’s specific reading deficiency, as identified by a valid and reliable diagnostic assessment. This intensive intervention must include effective instructional strategies, participation in the school district’s summer reading camp, and appropriate teaching methodologies necessary to assist those students in becoming successful readers, able to read at or above grade level, and ready for promotion to the next grade.
(b) Each school district shall: 1. Provide third grade students who are retained under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b) with intensive instructional services and supports to remediate the identified areas of reading deficiency, including participation in the school district’s summer reading camp as required under paragraph (a) and a minimum of 90 minutes of daily, uninterrupted, scientifically research-based reading instruction which includes phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension and other strategies prescribed by the school district, which may include, but are not limited to:
a. Integration of science and social studies content within the 90-minute block.
b. Small group instruction.
c. Reduced teacher-student ratios.
d. More frequent progress monitoring.
e. Tutoring or mentoring.
f. Transition classes containing 3rd and 4th grade students.
g. Extended school day, week, or year.
2. Provide written notification to the parent of a student who is retained under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b) that his or her child has not met the proficiency level required for promotion and the reasons the child is not eligible for a good cause exemption as provided in paragraph (6)(b). The notification must comply with the provisions of s. 1002.20(15) and must include a description of proposed interventions and supports that will be provided to the child to remediate the identified areas of reading deficiency.
3. Implement a policy for the midyear promotion of a student retained under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b) who can demonstrate that he or she is a successful and independent reader and performing at or above grade level in reading or, upon implementation of English Language Arts assessments, performing at or above grade level in English Language Arts. Tools that school districts may use in reevaluating a student retained may include subsequent assessments, alternative assessments, and portfolio reviews, in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education.
4. Provide students who are retained under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b) with a highly effective teacher as determined by the teacher’s performance evaluation under s. 1012.34. 5. Establish at each school, when applicable, an Intensive Acceleration Class for retained grade 3 students who subsequently score Level 1 on the required statewide, standardized assessment identified in s. 1008.22. The focus of the Intensive Acceleration Class shall be to increase a child’s reading and English Language Arts skill level at least two grade levels in 1 school year. The Intensive Acceleration Class shall:
a. Be provided to a student in grade 3 who scores Level 1 on the statewide, standardized Reading assessment or, upon implementation, the English Language Arts assessment and who was retained in grade 3 the prior year because of scoring Level 1.
b. Have a reduced teacher-student ratio.
c. Provide uninterrupted reading instruction for the majority of student contact time each day and incorporate opportunities to master the grade 4 Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in other core subject areas.
d. Use a reading program that is scientifically research-based and has proven results in accelerating student reading achievement within the same school year.
e. Provide intensive language and vocabulary instruction using a scientifically research-based program, including use of a speech-language therapist.
(8) ANNUAL REPORT.—
(a) In addition to the requirements in paragraph (5)(b), each district school board must annually report to the parent of each student the progress of the student toward achieving state and district expectations for proficiency in reading, writing, science, and mathematics. The district school board must report to the parent the student’s results on each statewide assessment test. The evaluation of each student’s progress must be based upon the student’s classroom work, observations, tests, district and state assessments, and other relevant information. Progress reporting must be provided to the parent in writing in a format adopted by the district school board.
(b) Each district school board must annually publish on the district website and in the local newspaper the following information on the prior school year:
1. The provisions of this section relating to public school student progression and the district school board’s policies and procedures on student retention and promotion.
2. By grade, the number and percentage of all students in grades 3 through 10 performing at Levels 1 and 2 on the reading portion of the FCAT.
3. By grade, the number and percentage of all students retained in grades 3 through 10.
4. Information on the total number of students who were promoted for good cause, by each category of good cause as specified in paragraph (6)(b).
5. Any revisions to the district school board’s policy on student retention and promotion from the prior year.
(9) RULEMAKING.—The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 for the administration of this section.