DORAL, FL – In response to the state assessment changes announced by the Florida Department of Education, such as the extension of the testing period and the need to have all students return to the schoolhouse for testing, many parents wonder how Miami-Dade School District will adjust to this reality.
But a memorandum addressed to the School Board by the Superintendent of Schools, Alberto Carvalho, shreds some light on this matter in the face of the upcoming Spring 2021 state assessments.
“In light of the disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to the traditional educational program, the District is advocating for students who can participate in the assessment program to do so as a means of collecting information on their academic performance,” said Carvalho in the written statement.
The need of having students engaged with their state evaluations comes from the fact that the pandemic has increased the achievement gap within the district due to the closure of schools and the transition to online education, as many education professionals have stated.
However, according to Carvalho, testing in the face of this pandemic is not meant to be used as a criteria to promote a student to a new year.
“We are recommending the suspension of high-stakes requirements for students (Grade 3 Promotion and graduation test requirements) and schools (school performance grades),” says the Superintendent.
Regarding the testing calendar for Florida Standards Assessment (FSA), according to the statement, evaluations will begin on April 1 with the FSA ELA Writing (Grades 4 – 10) and the Grade 3 FSA ELA Reading assessment and will be extended through the end of May.
FSA retakes windows, on the other hand, will be extended through the Fall and Winter with the purpose of “allowing the inclusion of as many students as possible who have not yet met the high school graduation test requirements and are approaching graduation or that missed the first administration of the Grade 10 FSA ELA or Algebra 1 EOC assessments last spring.”
Also, students who present the FSA ELA and Algebra 1 retakes, (originally scheduled between Feb.22 and March 12) will be able to do so from February 8 until March 25, 2021.
About the Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA), elementary and middle grades students will have from March 1 through May 14, 2021 (originally closed on April 16) to take them, while students in grades 9 and 10 will start their testing period in March 15 and conclude them in May 28, 2021.
In addition, Carvalho also offered some light regarding the testing requirements for english learners students, known as ELLs, according to what was established by the Florida Department of Education
“FDOE highly recommends that all ELL students participate in the ACCESS test. Even so, the decision to participate ultimately rests with the parents and/or guardians. FDOE will fully respect the decisions that families make should they choose not to send their children to take this assessment,” reads the document.
Finally, the Miami-Dade School District also has a plan in place to maintain a safe environment within the school community during the testing period, which is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines considering that online students will return to the schoolhouse for testing.
Some of the measures that will be taken include the use of separate entrances, wings and testing rooms, sanitization of rooms and computer equipment every day, maintenance of social distancing/students spaced six feet apart at all times, availability of sufficient pencils so that they need not be returned (or provide for their disinfection after use), adherence to the appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and daily health screenings for students and staff.
Online students will be tested as much as possible during after school hours or on Saturdays so that they can be tested when fewer students are present.
To know the complete testing calendar for Miami-Dade Schools, click here.