Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida, released an executive order that test scores will not prohibit students from graduating or advancing to the next grade level.
This emergency order came as a response to the unusual circumstances schools faced this year. However, school districts can interpret the order individually.
“Given our current situation, I do think this decision is smart. I really think it would be difficult this year to hold all students accountable under these circumstances,” Pre-Calculus teacher Trisha Colvin said.
Due to the pandemic, the learning process was altered for students as both online learning and in-person learning options remained available the duration of the school year. Students navigated between online platforms like Big Blue Button and Microsoft Teams for every class as teachers managed to simultaneously teach online and in-person students.
“I think it is a good decision because there has been a lot of complications this year causing students’ ability to learn to worsen and get lower grades. So I would think that it wouldn’t be fair if the tests were even graded at the same level or at all of past years where learning was normal,” sophomore Elick Driggers said.
More than 30% of Florida’s public school students, according to the Orlando Sentinel, still participate on online platforms with many parents angered about the schools putting their children in unwanted situations for testing.
Students and teachers continued to wonder all year about the impacts of testing. This decision brought controversy since the announcement came out a month before testing begins.
“This affects teacher’s mental health from all the stress put into our planning and teaching this year to best prepare students for these exams to only learn that they don’t count right before they’re administered,” English II teacher Krista Lang said.
Furthermore, uneasiness arises about the impact this decision has on students and future exams.
“I think this will impact students, for sure, but to what extent is hard to tell. With certain tests being a graduation requirement, I’m curious as to how this will impact those students next year. What will the lasting effects be on our younger student’s education in the future? Gaps in education have been around long before this pandemic, and I think these gaps will only be heightened,” Lang said.