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Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform (FCAR) Offers Model Initiative

Susan Notes: This news release from the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform describes what could be a model initiative for activists in other states.


FLORIDA COALITION FOR ASSESSMENT REFORM (FCAR)

For immediate release, Monday, June 26, 2006

for further information, contact:
Gloria Pipkin
850-265-6438
gpipkin@knology.net
www.fcarweb.org

Lara McKnight
(850) 221-8366
ldmck@netzero.net

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
239-395-6773 or 239-699-0468

PARENTS SEEK ACCESS TO GRADED FCATs UNDER FEDERAL LAW

In light of the recent revelations about the credentials of FCAT graders, the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform (FCAR) is urging parents to request access to their children's graded FCAT answer sheets and test booklets. Under a federal law titled the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents' rights to inspect and review education records are protected.

A letter sent to Florida state officials by the U.S. Department of Education last fall makes clear that state assessments, such as the FCAT, are covered by the federal disclosure requirements: "However, FERPA does provide parents with the right to inspect and review education records maintained by the SEA [State Education Agency] within 45 days of receipt of a request.... This includes, for example, State assessments administered by LEAs [Local Education Agencies, i.e. school districts] and maintained by the SEA." [emphasis in original].

Pensacola parent Lara McKnight recently filed letters requesting access to scored tests for two of her children. "With so much riding on the results of this single test, and the multitude of credibility issues that have arisen recently, it is my continued conviction that parents should have the opportunity to view their child's test," McKnight wrote in her letter to Florida education commissioner John Winn.

Under pressure from parent activists, last year Washington opened up its state assessment to parental review, citing FERPA. A number of other states, including Minnesota and Delaware, provide similar options through state law.

The Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization of parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens, formed in 2000. FCAR supports open, constructive, broad-based assessment that reflects the complexity of learning and respects the diversity of learners.

####

The U.S. Department of Education letter is included on page 3 of a memo issued by the Florida Department of Education early this year and can be viewed at http://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-3455/k12_05_176memo.pdf

— New Release
Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform
2006-06-26


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