Transfers of students just before FCAT stir questions
By Associated Press
Published June 13, 2004
A state official said more than 100 schools in the state transferred students who scored poorly on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to new schools just before standardized testing began this year.
Many of those schools were in Polk County, where an unusual number of students were transferred in the 19 days before the testing began, said Jim Warford, kindergarten-to-12th-grade chancellor for the Florida Department of Education.
About 70 percent of the Polk students who were moved from the 64 schools scored poorly on the FCAT, Warford said Friday.
Polk school board member Frank O'Reilly said he knew nothing about the state's inquiry or unusual transfers in his district.
"This is the first I've heard," he said. "I just can't believe this."
Officials questioned whether the 159 schools moved struggling students so their low scores wouldn't hurt the schools' showing. Scores for students who spend most of the school year at one school but switch schools just before the FCAT aren't counted toward either school's grades.
In Polk County, many of the transferred students seem to have been moved to alternative schools, which are not given grades, Warford said.