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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Can Florida students still take the Algebra 2 end-of-course exam?



When Florida lawmakers said they wanted to eliminate the state Algebra 2 end-of-course exam, they meant it.

The law killing the test went into effect on July 1. When the retake window opened on Monday, students scheduled to sit for the EOC learned it was no longer available.

"The Algebra 2 EOC has been discontinued effective immediately," Florida Department of Education spokeswoman Audrey Walden told the Gradebook. "There is no statutory requirement for students to obtain a passing score, so it is up to districts as to how to address course grades moving forward."

That has been great news to the many critics of the test, which had a low passing rate that appeared, in turn, to drive down student enrollment in the course. FSU professor Paul Cottle noted recently on his blog, "Algebra 2 is not required for graduation, but the passing rate on the EOC counted toward the school grade. So high school principals were incentivized to take marginal students out of Algebra 2 and put them in other math courses."

Maybe more teens will resume taking the course, he speculated, adding that Algebra 2 is a "gateway" math course to college-level STEM degrees.

But the instant disappearance of the EOC also has raised some questions of fairness. Students who took the course this past year but for some reason needed to make up the test might just have gotten a huge reprieve that some of their classmates didn't benefit from. At least a few parents have noticed and are deciding what to do about it, if anything.

Of course, the Algebra 2 EOC's death doesn't mean kids in the class won't be tested. It just means someone else will be giving the test. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 1:06pm]


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