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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco elementary teachers get directions on third-grade midyear promotions



With the end of the first quarter Friday, Pasco County third grade teachers received direction reminding them how to process any mid-year promotions of retained students.

The Pasco district was one of seven sued over the summer because of accusations that it did not follow state law relating to promotions and portfolios. That case remains in limbo on appeal after a Leon County judge initially ruled in the students' favor.

Pasco school district officials, who repeatedly stated they offered the portfolio option even if a student had no state test score, sent out materials explaining what the portfolios should include for children to demonstrate they read well enough to be in fourth grade.

The district's mid-year promotion form reflects state requirements, and provides more specific direction:

Portfolio documentation must:
- Be selected by the student's teacher.
- Be an accurate picture of the student's ability and only include student work that has been independently produced in the classroom.
- Include evidence that the standards assessed by the grade 3 FSA-ELA have been met. Such documentation could include performance on the state provided examples, unit tests from the adopted core reading curriculum, evidence recorded in IRLA, as well as district developed quarterly checks. For each standard, at least three examples of master as demonstrated by 70 percent or above on each sample, is required.
- An IRLA summary report may be used as Portfolio documentation. Evidence must indicate demonstration mastery of standards at the WHITE and BLACK reading levels and on-target performance at 4.2.
- Be signed by the teacher and the principal as an accurate assessment of the required reading skills.

The student also could earn promotion by scoring at the 51st percentile or above on the SAT-10, based on fourth-grade fall expectations.

Some parents have complained that this type of portfolio still relies on testing, which they are trying to avoid. They have pushed for more dependence on classroom lessons and report card grades. State lawmakers so far have shown no indication of desire to change the law, while districts have asked for more specific direction on third grade promotion rules.

Florida was the first state to require third graders to pass a reading test to earn their move to fourth grade. Several others have since followed suit.

[Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2016 12:54pm]


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