3rd Grade State Testing: Do You Know About the Portfolio Option?

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: November 18, 2015

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If your third grader is a struggling reader, you may be on pins and needles about the upcoming FSA (Florida Statewide Assessment) in the spring. Let’s talk about the assessment, and the 3rd-grade portfolio option you might not know about.

What Is the Florida Statewide Assessment?

The FSA is designed to measure students’ academic gains, performance, and progress. To do so, it evaluates multiple subjects, including…

  • English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Mathematics
  • Algebra 1
  • Algebra 2
  • Geometry

This Florida State Assessment is taken by students in grades 3 through 10, although the mathematics section is only given to students in grades 3 through 8.

The goal of this assessment is to determine what a child should know and be able to do at each grade level. The benchmarks outline specific skills and knowledge that students should have, and the FSA indicates the student’s progress on these benchmarks.

What Do You Need to Know About the Portfolio Option?

Worrying about whether or not your child will pass the standardized test creates stress at home and in school. Assisting your child with weekly tutoring is one option. There’s also another that your local school may fail to share with you.

Florida has a "new" policy that requires students to achieve a passing score on the spring Florida State Assessments to move on to the next grade. Failure to achieve the passing score means automatic retention - barring exceptions like an IEP that specifically prohibits standardized testing. For students who must take the exam, there’s a way around this requirement – but you must be proactive.

There are mid-year promotion options available to retained 3rd grades. If a student demonstrates certain skills within their first semester of 3rd grade, they may be able to submit a 3rd-grade portfolio to demonstrate that they’ve met the FSA benchmarks.

In doing so, you can prove that your student is a successful and independent reader performing at the correct level – without needing to perform on the FSA.

Request that your teacher start building a 3rd-grade portfolio of work that may be used to overcome a poor Florida State Assessment score. It’s important to start now, so don’t wait until the last minute. This exception has been in place for a couple of years but is not commonly communicated to parents.

For more information please refer to this technical assistance paper from the Florida Department of Education. You can also reach out to our team at Score At The Top to learn more.

Need Help Preparing for the FSA?

Whether you choose the 3rd-grade portfolio option or decide to have your student take the Florida Statewide Assessment, we’re here to help you prepare and ensure your student performs well.

Our tutors are experienced in working with students of various ages, including 3rd graders with a wide range of abilities. Let us help your student feel more comfortable with the assessment or get their skills where they need to be for the next benchmark.

To set up a tutoring appointment with us, contact our team today. We’re happy to accommodate your student’s unique needs to ensure they have an excellent experience.

Topics: College Planning Educational Consulting

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