St. Johns school board asks education commissioner to lift negative consequences for state tests

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – In a letter sent to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, members of the St. Johns County School Board asked the state not to penalize the school district based on the results of the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) tests.

“We want to give the test because we want to understand where our children are performing. However, given the impacts of the pandemic, we don’t believe that it is in the best interest of children or teachers or schools to hold them accountable for the results,” said board member Beverly Slough during a Tuesday meeting. “We had, as we all know, quite a lot of COVID slide among our kids and it’s taken a while to reveal those skills and to move forward.”

Slough said similar letters have sent by the Florida School Boards Association and the Florida Association of School Superintendents, among others.

The letter, which was also signed by Superintendent Tim Forson, cites the U.S. Department of Education which said assessment flexibility was needed due to the ongoing pandemic.

“Man students and staff members have missed time at school due to the illness itself, or mandatory quarantine, and students struggled in online platforms for a variety of reasons,” the letter states. “Additionally, the lack of access to broadband has likely further exacerbated learning gaps in rural communities and requires heightened concern and understanding.”

Last month, Corcoran issued an executive order that will give school districts an extra two weeks to administer the FSAs.

Standardized testing begins April 15 and continues through May 28 in Florida schools.

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