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Leon, Wakulla Score Well On FSA Test As Education Groups Push Back

Historically high-performing districts would largely remain at the top, and historical poor performers, near the bottom. That’s according to district-level performance results from the new Florida Standards Assessment. Leon County has been near the top but as the news isn’t as good for the rest of the surrounding counties.

Leon County students did well on the new Florida Standards Assessment and end of course exams. Wakulla, which has received straight A’s from the state for years, also did well. But at the bottom of the pack are Gadsden and Jefferson, which have struggled academically for years. Despite Leon’s strong showing, District Superintendent Jackie Pons says he stands with fellow superintendents across the state in opposing the use of the test results to grade teachers and schools.

“There will be "F" grades given throughout the state if they move forward with this. And that affects the whole community. If its going to be given, and we support this concept, you have to make sure you get it right," Pons said.

Computer glitches plagued the administration of the FSA during the Spring. A recent review of the test found it valid for district and teacher grades, but not for student promotion or graduation. The Florida Parent-Teacher Organization, Superintendents Association and School Board group are asking the state to postpone grades and evaluations this year.

School Board Association Executive Director Andrea Messina says while the groups have made the request in the past with few results, this year’s problems have had a higher profile.

“Parents experienced through their children the frustration with the test administration this year. The communities heard about the districts having to postpone the administrations having to postpone entire days at a time. So, it’s not just the education community that recognizes the problem.”

The state has released district-level performance results on the new exam, and many traditionally high-performing districts could see their school and district grades tumble when the state begins assigning grades. Students took exams last Spring but technical glitches marred the administration of the tests.