Just Say No to Algebra 1 EOC Retakes: Take the PERT
Message to Florida’s 109,000+ students who failed this spring’s Algebra 1 EOC: We recommend students consider taking the PERT instead of ever retaking the Algebra 1 EOC.
In case you missed it, the results of the 2016 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) were released on June 10, 2016. You can check them out here. There is enough data there to keep a blogger busy all summer.
We have been particularly interested in the Math EOCs: Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry. We plan on taking a closer look at those results in future blogs. Today, one thing leapt out at us: the passing rate of the students who were retaking the Algebra 1 exam (students who had previously failed the Algebra 1 EOC) is shockingly low.
Only 15 % of the 25,423 students re-taking the Algebra 1 EOC this spring passed! If you think 15% is not a very high passing rate, check out the Fall and Winter Algebra retakes where only 9% passed each time! Keep in mind that passing the Algebra 1 EOC with a score of 3 or higher is a Florida high school graduation requirement.
It appears the likelihood a student will pass their Algebra 1 EOC re-take, allowing them to graduate from high school, is not very good. It also appears that over 24,000 students have been asked to take the Algebra 1 FSA EOC retake THREE times since failing it last spring. Each retake is 3 hours long. That is a lot of missed class time with very little chance of success.
There is an alternative to the Algebra 1 EOC. Students who score a 97 on the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) will satisfy the Algebra 1 EOC graduation requirement. Students can contact their high school to determine where to take the exam (it is administered at high schools and community colleges). The PERT math sub-test consists of 30 questions and takes about 45 minutes to complete with results sometimes available as soon as the test is completed. A free practice tests and test prep materials are available online.
We recommend that students who fail the Algebra 1 EOC use the PERT to satisfy the Algebra 1 EOC graduation requirement. Of course, there is no guarantee a student will score a 97 or higher on the PERT, but many report it to be much more straight forward than the Algebra 1 EOC.
The DOE does not track whether students satisfy the graduation requirement with a passing Algebra 1 EOC score or a concordant score on the PERT exam. Districts pay for their student’s PERT exams, which are purchased at a unit cost, which is $0.94 per test. (FSA-EOCs are not paid on a per test basis but, according to early FSA cost estimates, the average cost of each individual FSA test would be approximately $11.47.)
Why do we pay for students to take multiple retakes of an expensive test that they have little chance of passing, when they could take the PERT for less than 1/10th the cost? Most of the 24,000 students who failed their retake this spring were, probably, sitting for their 4th Algebra 1 EOC (that means at least 12 hours of time spent testing). It is time to stop wasting these students’ time and get them back in the classroom.
It is time to just say “NO” to Algebra 1 EOC retakes: Take the PERT!
Please note: students scoring a qualifying score on the PERT prior to enrolling in and completing Algebra 1 or an equivalent course, must take the Algebra 1 EOC assessment in accordance with F.S. 1008.22. The student’s score on the Algebra 1 EOC is worth 30% of the student’s course grade, which can significantly impact a student’s GPA. You can learn more about the graduation requirements for Florida’s State Assessments here.