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Refuse the test: My letter to the Middle School

I’m writing to let you know that Carson Rigby, grade 8, and Braden Rigby, grade 7, will be refusing the FSA test beginning next week.This is allowed under the guidelines provided by SCPS earlier this week. Specifically items 11 and 19:

11.How will students be treated if they refuse the test?

Seminole County Public Schools seeks to treat students, staff and families with the utmost respect and courtesy. There should not be any intent to embarrass or humiliate students under any circumstances. Students will be offered the test, as required by statute. If a student refuses to take the test, the parents will be notified, unless there is documentation from the parents that the student is not permitted to take the test. If a student refuses to take the test, and sits quietly during the testing session, the student will be allowed to remain seated. If there is any disruption that compromises the testing environment, the student will be escorted to another classroom or supervised area, and directed to read relevant grade level material during the remainder of the testing session. Students who refuse to test are not penalized. For example, students are not disciplined, students are not in jeopardy of losing their magnet school assignment, being excluded from advanced courses, etc.
19. Will the district penalize students who have an “NR2” score? For example, will the district place students with an “NR2” in intensive courses based on the “NR2” score alone? Will the district not allow students to participate in advanced courses, including advanced, honors, gifted, and Advanced Placement (AP)? Will the district not allow students to participate in extracurricular activities or go on field trips?
There are no district penalties for a student with an “NR2” score. Students will be placed in grades/courses based on a review of a variety of individual student data points. The data points include, but are not limited to, teacher‐made or teacher‐selected classroom assessments, student course grades, school‐based instructional technology programs (such as iReady, Think Through Math, Reading Plus, etc.) a review of 2014 FCAT scores (if available), Discovery Education Progress Monitoring, and other relevant state‐approved assessment results.
FSA results will be reviewed upon release and verification of data. However, the FLDOE has informed districts that for the 2015‐16 school year, student placement is determined by district criteria. Upon receipt of FSA results, districts are not required to change students’ course assignments. For example, if a student is not placed in an intensive reading or math course, but scores a Level 1 on the FSA, school personnel will review all current, available, and relevant student data to determine if the student should remain in their assigned course or be rescheduled for an intensive course. If the student is performing at or above expectation in the standard, honors or advanced course, then the student will remain in that course.
Students are eligible to participate in advanced, honors, gifted, and AP courses, as well as extracurricular activities and field trips.

My stance on high-stakes testing has been well publicized and documented. I would never put my kids into MY fight but they are well aware of the effect that these tests have had on their school year and education. None of us are okay with cramming 180 days of curriculum into about 100-120 days. They are good boys, they are rule followers and they were only okay with this after Seminole County came out with this PDF.

This has nothing to do with how they will perform on the test, because they’ll do better than most. This is because high-stakes testing is wrong and this test (I have taken all the practice tests) is not a valid tool to measure their knowledge and progress. I am positive that their teachers can tell me right now where they’re having problems and where they excel. When you have hours of test prep, it becomes less about what they know and much more about how they can take a test. This age of high stakes testing is an utter nightmare for students and teachers and because teachers and administrators have been threatened by Pam Stewart, it is falling upon the parents and students to take a stand.

I have instructed them on how to opt-out and meet the participation requirements as stated in the Florida statutes. They will give the testing coordinator a hard copy of this email when they enter the room. They will bring a book and will be respectful of those who are testing.

Thank you for your support,

Lynne Rigby



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  • March 1, 2015 - 2:38 pm

    Why My Kids Are Opting Out of the FSA – by Lynne Rigby | Opt Out Orlando - […] sent my opt out letter to the middle school on Friday. And I have started this conversation many times with my friends, but you know how […]

  • March 3, 2015 - 10:16 am
  • March 3, 2015 - 8:12 pm

    Cody - Hi, I am a freshman at Boone High School, in Orange County, Florida. I took the FSA today and I just want to say thank you for taking a stand for your students, I was doing homework for a class and I stumbled up pone the FSA news stuff that was going around. I decided to look into it more and noticed that your Blog came up in most of the news articles. I just wanted to say thanks for not letting the school bully you and your children into taking this test.

  • March 3, 2015 - 11:35 pm

    lynne - My favorite reply so far! Good luck to you <3

  • March 8, 2015 - 11:58 am

    D. R. Arthur - Florida statutes, the authorship of those should be reviewed as well Lynne.

    Who wrote up these requirements? In particular the legality of a non-disclosure by the student and signing violates to my knowledge the rights of a minor or compels them to sign something where parental authority is clear in the Uniform Commercial Code.

    So by forcing students into a non-disclosure act, to not even talk with parents is more than slightly questionable, it may be regarded as quite illegal in concept or scope to compel a minor into a contract like situation. Please review as this is a matter of law that matters with your legal counsel.

  • March 9, 2015 - 1:00 pm

    Mary - Please help!!! I’m trying to opt out for my 2 boys. We are in Broward County they are in 4th & 5th grade. School says there is no option to opt out!!!

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