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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vitti should be a leader and not fail kids based on a flawed test

The third grade teacher I talked to said it was a shame what we were doing to the families in their class. Family’s plans were being put on hold and the unbelievable stress put on kids was being allowed to continue. It is even worse they continued, all this for a test which isn’t valid.

The teacher said they proctored it for several disabled students and as a result was allowed to read the questions. Question after question they felt were invalid, covering standards not introduced to third graders. When they asked about it they were told that the test had outlier questions built into it because they were still developing the test.

Friends that means the state is field testing as they give the test using our kids as guinea pigs with their futures on the line. The state is asking kids to build a bike while they are riding it.
Superintendent Vitti has to be aware of this as he is surely aware that the company that was hired to validate the FSA tests say they won’t be back with their report untll the end of August when the next school year is in session.

It’s not like superintendent Vitti’s hands are tied either. He does not have to wait for the results of the test. Other districts are using, IREADY, the Stanford 10 and Achieve, common tests or software that districts use during the year and trusting teachers by using report cards, or you know what happens in every other grade.  Only third graders face such a heavy penalty for not doing well on the state tests, one that I again remind you nobody knows if it is valid or not.

Nobody is saying Vitti and the district shouldn’t retain kids that failed their classes but almost universally people think it is wrong to fail kids based on one test, especially this year’s test. The super should step up and say, that isn’t going to happen here.

To see what another district is doing, click the link:


  1. Teachers,

    I realize that you and parents have raised several questions regarding the state’s requirement for third grade retention this year. Despite the change in standards and assessment at the 3rd grade level and the independent validation ordered by Governor Scott, state law still requires any third grade student who does not score a Level 2 or higher to be retained in third grade, unless they meet one of the 7 traditional good cause exemptions. However, due to the fact that the test is now required to be validated by the legislature, 3rd grade test scores will be delayed by the Florida Department of Education (FODE) and therefore the Level 2 standard has been modified. The FDOE will now, for this year only, send us a list of Duval County Public School students who scored in the lowest 20% throughout the entire state and consider that list as being the students who would be considered for retention based on state law.

    Our letter sent home was to proactively communicate with 3rd grade parents to ensure that they were aware of the most recent decisions of the state and how that affected our district timeline to fulfill state law regarding 3rd grade retention. We had no choice but to delay report cards for these students because the state also required that the new assessments be validated. This then delayed the typical timeline of state test scores for third grade being released. Those students fall under the requirements of state law regarding retention. The decision to delay report cards was to avoid a report card being sent home with a student that states a child is promoted, or retained, and the opposite occurs based on the student’s score on the state assessment.

    With that said, we will use as much flexibility and discretion as we can to prevent students from being retained based on our own concerns with the newness and validity of the assessment. This is where we have included i-Ready and Achieve3000 scores. We will use both of these assessments in our allowed flexibility for any student who appears on the state’s lowest 20% list. These indicators will not be used to retain students. The only retention indicator is the lowest 20% list which FDOE will provide.


    1. Retention in 3rd Grade is based on the FSA results.
    2. We will receive a list of our students who score in the bottom 20% of the state by June 8th.
    3. These students, by statute must be retained.
    4. Good Cause exemptions will be applied for these students who meet the following criteria:
    (1) Have less than two years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program based on initial entry into a U.S. school, or
    (2) Have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a student with disabilities which indicates that participation in the state required Reading assessment program is not appropriate, or
    (3) Score at or above the required percentile on the SAT10, or
    (4) Complete a Student Portfolio in accordance with district guidelines demonstrating that they are reading equal to performing at least at Level 2 performance on the state required Reading assessment, or
    (5) Be a student with a disability who participates in the state required Reading assessment and has an IEP or Section 504 plan that reflects that the student has received intensive reading remediation for more than two years but still demonstrates a deficiency in Reading and Language Arts AND was previously retained in grades K, 1, 2, or 3, or
    (6) Received intensive reading remediation in Reading and Language Arts for two or more years and was previously retained in K, 1, 2, or 3 for a total of two years, or
    (7) Has previously been retained in 3rd grade.

    If you need further information, please reach out to your principal or Mason Davis, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction @

    Nikolai P. Vitti, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

  2. Wow! Thank you validating why my child will attend private school next year. You completely missed the point of the article. Be a leader.