INVESTIGATES: DCPS virtual students, grades 6-12, to take FSA and EOC exams in-person, per state mandate

INVESTIGATES: All students must take state exams at school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) announced virtual learning students, grades 6-12, will take their Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and End of Course (EOC) exams in person, as mandated by the Florida Department of Education.

Duval Homeroom parents received a letter from DCPS this month, saying no online exam options will be available.

“The Florida Department of Education is requiring all students in grades 6-12 to take their Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and End of Course (EOC) exams at a school location,” the letter reads. “There will be no online options or alternative locations available…”

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DCPS stated it began notifying parents of in-person testing requirements months ago. Action News Jax located a DCPS web post on the matter dated Nov. 5.

Considering the state’s mandate for in-person FSA and EOC exams, Action News Jax asked DCPS Chief of Marketing and Public Relations Tracy Pierce about the district’s plans to ensure student safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s following our COVID protocols and installing different protocols for the students coming in,” said Pierce. “For instance, one change will be that the students from Duval Homeroom would be in separate a room, in separate place from the population that’s typically at the school. Obviously, requiring face masks, social distancing in the testing rooms and those types of things.”

In the coming weeks, Pierce said the district will work to spark conversations between school administrators and virtual learning families, many of whom chose Duval Homeroom or DVIA to avoid sending their children to in-person learning environments amid the pandemic.

“That’s why we want to have this conversation now with the parents. To make sure that we have a situation at the school where that they’re comfortable bringing the student,” said Pierce.

Pierce said, at this time, there’s no indication the state will waive the testing requirements for graduation.

The recent letter to parents describes the exams’ impact on students’ course placement and ability to graduate.

“Middle school students’ performance on FSA will determine scheduling options including preliminary acceleration courses during their 8th and 9th grade year, such as Algebra 1 and honors courses which impact high school grade point averages,” according to the letter. “In order to meet high school graduation requirements, 10th graders must score a Level 3 or higher on Grade 10 ELA FSA and earn a passing score on the Algebra I EOC. In addition, the Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, US History and Civics End of Course exams are all state assessments that count as 30% of each student’s final course grade.”

DCPS stated it will use the upcoming Progress Monitoring Assessment (PMA) #3 as a practice session for FSA.

“Each School is prepared to ensure that all COVID safety precautions are used during the assessment time,” the letter indicates. “These precautions will include temperature checks at the front door, masks required for all students and staff, a well-ventilated room away from other students who normally attend school in person, and social distancing adhered to within the testing classroom.”