Florida school districts remind principals about mid-year promotion for retained third graders
As retained Florida third graders return to school this week and next, district leaders are reminding principals and teachers that the children still may move up to fourth grade after classes resume.
State law requires all districts to have midyear promotion plans for children held back in third grade because they did not show grade-level reading proficiency on the Florida Standards Assessment. During the first nine weeks, the students must demonstrate their ability to read at or above the level expected at the end of third grade.
In Pasco County schools, "this evidence would include the SAT 10 administration on October 4 or 5, 2016 with a 51st percentile score or an IRLA printable summary report with evidence included that demonstrates a black reading level and on target at 4.2."
After the first nine weeks end, the rules change. Statute says beginning Nov. 1, the student "must demonstrate proficiency levels in reading equivalent to the level necessary for the beginning of grade 4." Moreover, they must show reasonable expectation of being able to master fourth-grade reading skills by the end of the year.
A group of parents has been working to get this law overturned, collecting money to file for a legal injunction against retention of third graders -- particularly those who earned good grades in school but refused to take state tests. Some districts insisted that students have a test score to be considered for promotion, regardless of their other performance. They argue that forcing a student to repeat a grade is inappropriate, especially where there's no proof that such a move is needed.
That lawsuit is expected soon. But until a judge can act, expect districts to follow the law as written. Stay tuned.