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  1. Florida

Florida testing validity study report to come next week

All of you waiting anxiously for Alpine Testing Solution's verdict on the Florida Standards Assessments validity will have to sweat it out a little longer. The firm, which had planned to submit its final report today (Friday), has requested and received a short extension.

"If we get it on Monday, then we'll make our announcement on Monday," Florida Department of Education spokeswoman Meghan Collins told the Gradebook. "They have until the 1st (of September) by law."

The study aims to examine six key areas of the state tests, including whether the questions aligned to Florida Standards and whether the administration was reliable. Reports of computer log-in problems, among other troubles, were widespread during the spring testing window, raising concerns across Florida about whether the results should be used for a variety of accountability measures. Those include teacher evaluations, school grades and student promotion, some of which have started to happen already.

Many students have been told to repeat third grade, for instance, after their schools learned they had scored in the lowest 20 percent of children on the FSA language arts exam. The schools held the final decision on retentions, but they were connected to the test. Some parents have loudly criticized this action, saying no such moves should be made based on a test yet to be ruled valid. (Other areas of concern included assignments into intensive reading courses based on test results.)

Collins said the department has not seen Alpine's recommendations. Officials have been working on a broad set of ideas how to proceed, depending on the outcome, she said.

After getting the report, she said, the commissioner will discuss "what is the plan moving forward? That is what people really care about."

The department still plans to begin its initial meetings on setting FSA cut scores next week, despite the delay in receiving the report, Collins said.

"It would be because of the storm" if that session is postponed, she said, explaining that the process needs to get started. "We have to be prepared for the outcome either way."

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