Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) recognizes the need for a strong accountability system at the school, district and state level in order to secure a uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools as guaranteed by the Florida Constitution. The FSBA also firmly supports the Florida Standards and valid and reliable state assessments to measure student progress in mastering those standards. However, Florida school board members are deeply concerned about the integrity of Florida’s current accountability system, which they believe has continuously deteriorated.
Due to the extensive disruption and confusion that surrounded the initial administration of the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) and the adverse conditions under which the test was administered, the FSBA questions whether the test is psychometrically reliable, which is essential in determining student performance baselines and in projecting future performance expectations. Additionally, the FSBA is concerned with the lack of trust from educators, students and the broader public in the fairness of statewide assessments and standards.
Since 1998, the number of assessments required by the state to be administered each year has substantially increased. The FSBA believes there is an over-emphasis on standardized testing which has resulted in a variety of unintended consequences that diminish the quality of the educational program, including stifling student engagement, narrowing the curriculum, reducing student access to elective and other desired courses and impeding the recruitment and retention of excellent teachers and administrators.
“The accountability system in Florida is broken. In such a high-stakes testing environment, it is imperative that we reassess current procedures so that we can move forward with a reliable system that educators, students and the community can support,” said FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina.
In an attempt to fix the eroded system, FSBA is once again calling on the Governor, Florida Legislature and State Board of Education to forego use of the 2015 FSA test results and extend, until fiscal year 2016-2017, the transition period for the implementation of accountability measures relating to teacher evaluation, school grades and district ranking. The FSBA also recommends the formation of a diverse committee of Florida teachers and district personnel to review the FSA to improve communication and public understanding of the state assessment and accountability system.
In addition, the FSBA calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the “No Child Left Behind Act,” to reduce testing mandates, to promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality and to remove any fixed mandate for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.
Florida school board members are calling for a re-evaluation of our assessment system in order to uphold Florida’s standing as a leader in education reform and adhere to the state’s constitutional responsibility to make adequate provision for a uniform, efficient and high quality system of public schools.
The mission of the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) is to increase student achievement through the development of effective school board leadership and advocacy for public education.