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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1008
ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
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F.S. 1008.25
1008.25 Public school student progression; student support; screening and progress monitoring; reporting requirements.
(1) INTENT.It is the intent of the Legislature that each student’s progression from one grade to another be determined, in part, upon satisfactory performance in English Language Arts, social studies, science, and mathematics; that district school board policies facilitate student achievement; that each student and his or her parent be informed of that student’s academic progress; and that students have access to educational options that provide academically challenging coursework or accelerated instruction pursuant to s. 1002.3105.
(2) STUDENT PROGRESSION PLAN.Each district school board shall establish a comprehensive plan for student progression which must provide for a student’s progression from one grade to another based on the student’s mastery of the standards in s. 1003.41, specifically English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies standards. The plan must:
(a) Include criteria that emphasize student reading proficiency in kindergarten through grade 3 and provide targeted instructional support for students with identified deficiencies in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. High schools shall use all available assessment results, including the results of statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessments and end-of-course assessments for Algebra I and Geometry, to advise students of any identified deficiencies and to provide appropriate postsecondary preparatory instruction before high school graduation. The results of evaluations used to monitor a student’s progress in grades K-12 must be provided to the student’s teacher in a timely manner and as otherwise required by law. Thereafter, evaluation results must be provided to the student’s parent in a timely manner. When available, instructional personnel must be provided with information on student achievement of standards and benchmarks in order to improve instruction.
(b)1. List the student eligibility and procedural requirements established by the school district for whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration that would result in a student attending a different school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(2)(b).
2. Notify parents and students of the school district’s process by which a parent may request student participation in whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, or subject-matter acceleration that would result in a student attending a different school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(4)(b)2.
(c)1. Advise parents and students that additional ACCEL options may be available at the student’s school, pursuant to s. 1002.3105.
2. Advise parents and students to contact the principal at the student’s school for information related to student eligibility requirements for whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration when the promotion or acceleration occurs within the principal’s school; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; and any other ACCEL options offered by the principal, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(2)(a).
3. Advise parents and students to contact the principal at the student’s school for information related to the school’s process by which a parent may request student participation in whole-grade promotion, midyear promotion, and subject-matter acceleration when the promotion or acceleration occurs within the principal’s school; virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects; and any other ACCEL options offered by the principal, pursuant to s. 1002.3105(4)(b)1.
(d) Advise parents and students of the early graduation options under s. 1003.4281.
(e) List, or incorporate by reference, all dual enrollment courses contained within the dual enrollment articulation agreement established pursuant to s. 1007.271(21).
(f) Provide instructional sequences by which students in kindergarten through high school may attain progressively higher levels of skill in the use of digital tools and applications. The instructional sequences must include participation in curricular and instructional options and the demonstration of competence of standards required pursuant to ss. 1003.41 and 1003.4203 through attainment of industry certifications and other means of demonstrating credit requirements identified under ss. 1002.3105, 1003.4203, and 1003.4282.
(3) ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES.District school boards shall allocate remedial and supplemental instruction resources to students in the following priority:
(a) Students in kindergarten through grade 3 who have a substantial deficiency in reading as determined in paragraph (5)(a).
(b) Students who fail to meet performance levels required for promotion consistent with the district school board’s plan for student progression required in subsection (2).
(4) ASSESSMENT AND SUPPORT.
(a) Each student must participate in the statewide, standardized assessment program required under s. 1008.22 and the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program through grade 8 coordinated screening and progress monitoring system required under subsection (8). Each student who does not achieve a Level 3 or above on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment, the statewide, standardized Mathematics assessment, or the Algebra I EOC assessment must be evaluated to determine the nature of the student’s difficulty, the areas of academic need, and strategies for providing academic supports to improve the student’s performance.
(b) A student who is not meeting the school district or state requirements for satisfactory performance in English Language Arts and mathematics must be covered by one of the following plans:
1. A federally required student plan such as an individual education plan;
2. A schoolwide system of progress monitoring for all students, except a student who scores Level 4 or above on the English Language Arts and mathematics assessments may be exempted from participation by the principal; or
3. An individualized progress monitoring plan.
(c) A student who has a substantial reading deficiency as determined in paragraph (5)(a) must be covered by a federally required student plan, such as an individual education plan or an individualized progress monitoring plan, or both, as necessary.
(5) READING DEFICIENCY AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.
(a) Any student in kindergarten through grade 3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading based upon screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring, or assessment data; statewide assessments; or teacher observations must be provided intensive, explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading interventions immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency. A school may not wait for a student to receive a failing grade at the end of a grading period to identify the student as having a substantial reading deficiency and initiate intensive reading interventions. In addition, a school may not wait until an evaluation conducted pursuant to s. 1003.57 is completed to provide appropriate, evidence-based interventions for a student whose parent submits documentation from a professional licensed under chapter 490 which demonstrates that the student has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Such interventions must be initiated upon receipt of the documentation and based on the student’s specific areas of difficulty as identified by the licensed professional. A student’s reading proficiency must be monitored and the intensive interventions must continue until the student demonstrates grade level proficiency in a manner determined by the district, which may include achieving a Level 3 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment. The State Board of Education shall identify by rule guidelines for determining whether a student in kindergarten through grade 3 has a substantial deficiency in reading.
(b) A Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in early literacy skills in accordance with the standards under s. 1002.67(1)(a) and based upon the results of the administration of the final coordinated screening and progress monitoring under s. 1008.2125 shall be referred to the local school district and may be eligible to receive intensive reading interventions before participating in kindergarten. Such intensive reading interventions shall be paid for using funds from the district’s research-based reading instruction allocation in accordance with 1s. 1011.62(9).
(c) To be promoted to grade 4, a student must score a Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment required under s. 1008.22 for grade 3. If a student’s reading deficiency is not remedied by the end of grade 3, as demonstrated by scoring Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized assessment required under s. 1008.22 for grade 3, the student must be retained.
2(d) The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, as described in paragraph (a), must be notified in writing of the following:
1. That his or her child has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading, including a description and explanation, in terms understandable to the parent, of the exact nature of the student’s difficulty in learning and lack of achievement in reading.
2. A description of the current services that are provided to the child.
3. A description of the proposed intensive interventions and supports that will be provided to the child that are designed to remediate the identified area of reading deficiency.
4. That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
5. Strategies, including multisensory strategies, through a read-at-home plan the parent can use in helping his or her child succeed in reading. The read-at-home plan must provide access to the resources identified in 3paragraph (d).
6. That the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment is not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for grade promotion.
7. The district’s specific criteria and policies for a portfolio as provided in subparagraph (6)(b)4. and the evidence required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s academic standards for English Language Arts. A school must immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio when a student in grade 3 is identified as being at risk of retention or upon the request of the parent, whichever occurs first.
8. The district’s specific criteria and policies for midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a retained student at any time during the year of retention once the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.
9. Information about the student’s eligibility for the New Worlds Reading Initiative under s. 1003.485 and information on parent training modules and other reading engagement resources available through the initiative.

After initial notification, the school shall apprise the parent at least monthly of the student’s progress in response to the intensive interventions and supports. Such communications must be in writing and must explain any additional interventions or supports that will be implemented to accelerate the student’s progress if the interventions and supports already being implemented have not resulted in improvement.

(e) The Department of Education shall compile resources that each school district must incorporate into a read-at-home plan provided to the parent of a student who is identified as having a substantial reading deficiency pursuant to 4paragraph (c). The resources must be made available in an electronic format that is accessible online and must include the following:
1. Developmentally appropriate, evidence-based strategies and programming, including links to video training modules and opportunities to sign up for at-home reading tips delivered periodically via text and e-mail, which a parent can use to help improve his or her child’s literacy skills.
2. An overview of the types of assessments used to identify reading deficiencies and what those assessments measure or do not measure, the frequency with which the assessments are administered, and the requirements for interventions and supports that districts must provide to students who do not make adequate academic progress.
3. An overview of the process for initiating and conducting evaluations for exceptional education eligibility. The overview must include an explanation that a diagnosis of a medical condition alone is not sufficient to establish exceptional education eligibility but may be used to document how that condition relates to the student’s eligibility determination and may be disclosed in an eligible student’s individual education plan when necessary to inform school personnel responsible for implementing the plan.
4. Characteristics of conditions associated with learning disorders, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and developmental aphasia.
5. A list of resources that support informed parent involvement in decisionmaking processes for students who have difficulty in learning.

Upon the request of a parent, resources meeting the requirements of this paragraph must be provided to the parent in a hardcopy format.

(6) ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL PROMOTION.
(a) No student may be assigned to a grade level based solely on age or other factors that constitute social promotion.
(b) The district school board may only exempt students from mandatory retention, as provided in paragraph (5)(c), for good cause. A student who is promoted to grade 4 with a good cause exemption shall be provided intensive reading instruction and intervention that include specialized diagnostic information and specific reading strategies to meet the needs of each student so promoted. The school district shall assist schools and teachers with the implementation of explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading instruction and intervention strategies for students promoted with a good cause exemption which research has shown to be successful in improving reading among students who have reading difficulties. Good cause exemptions are limited to the following:
1. Limited English proficient students who have had less than 2 years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other Languages program based on the initial date of entry into a school in the United States.
2. Students with disabilities whose individual education plan indicates that participation in the statewide assessment program is not appropriate, consistent with the requirements of s. 1008.212.
3. Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading or English Language Arts assessment approved by the State Board of Education.
4. A student who demonstrates through a student portfolio that he or she is performing at least at Level 2 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment.
5. Students with disabilities who take the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment and who have an individual education plan or a Section 504 plan that reflects that the student has received intensive instruction in reading or English Language Arts for more than 2 years but still demonstrates a deficiency and was previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3.
6. Students who have received intensive reading intervention for 2 or more years but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 for a total of 2 years. A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.
(c) Requests for good cause exemptions for students from the mandatory retention requirement as described in subparagraphs (b)3. and 4. shall be made consistent with the following:
1. Documentation shall be submitted from the student’s teacher to the school principal that indicates that the promotion of the student is appropriate and is based upon the student’s academic record. In order to minimize paperwork requirements, such documentation shall consist only of the existing progress monitoring plan, individual educational plan, if applicable, report card, or student portfolio.
2. The school principal shall review and discuss such recommendation with the teacher and make the determination as to whether the student should be promoted or retained. If the school principal determines that the student should be promoted, the school principal shall make such recommendation in writing to the district school superintendent. The district school superintendent shall accept or reject the school principal’s recommendation in writing.
(7) SUCCESSFUL PROGRESSION FOR RETAINED THIRD GRADE STUDENTS.
(a) Students retained under paragraph (5)(c) must be provided intensive interventions in reading to ameliorate the student’s specific reading deficiency and prepare the student for promotion to the next grade. These interventions must include:
1. Evidence-based, explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension and other strategies prescribed by the school district.
2. Participation in the school district’s summer reading camp, which must incorporate the instructional and intervention strategies under subparagraph 1.
3. A minimum of 90 minutes of daily, uninterrupted reading instruction incorporating the instructional and intervention strategies under subparagraph 1. This instruction may include:
a. Coordinated integration of content-rich texts in science and civic literacy within the 90-minute block.
b. Small group instruction.
c. Reduced teacher-student ratios.
d. More frequent progress monitoring.
e. Tutoring or mentoring.
f. Transition classes containing 3rd and 4th grade students.
g. Extended school day, week, or year.
(b) Each school district shall:
1. Provide written notification to the parent of a student who is retained under paragraph (5)(c) that his or her child has not met the proficiency level required for promotion and the reasons the child is not eligible for a good cause exemption as provided in paragraph (6)(b). The notification must comply with paragraph (5)(d) and must include a description of proposed interventions and supports that will be provided to the child to remediate the identified areas of reading deficiency.
2. Implement a policy for the midyear promotion of a student retained under paragraph (5)(c) who can demonstrate that he or she is a successful and independent reader and performing at or above grade level in reading or, upon implementation of English Language Arts assessments, performing at or above grade level in English Language Arts. Tools that school districts may use in reevaluating a student retained may include subsequent assessments, alternative assessments, and portfolio reviews, in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education. Students promoted during the school year after November 1 must demonstrate proficiency levels in reading equivalent to the level necessary for the beginning of grade 4. The rules adopted by the State Board of Education must include standards that provide a reasonable expectation that the student’s progress is sufficient to master appropriate grade 4 level reading skills.
3. Provide students who are retained under paragraph (5)(c), including students participating in the school district’s summer reading camp under subparagraph (a)2., with a highly effective teacher as determined by the teacher’s performance evaluation under s. 1012.34, and, beginning July 1, 2020, the teacher must also be certified or endorsed in reading.
4. Establish at each school, when applicable, an intensive reading acceleration course for any student retained in grade 3 who was previously retained in kindergarten, grade 1, or grade 2. The intensive reading acceleration course must provide the following:
a. Uninterrupted reading instruction for the majority of student contact time each day and opportunities to master the grade 4 Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in other core subject areas through content-rich texts.
b. Small group instruction.
c. Reduced teacher-student ratios.
d. The use of explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading interventions, including intensive language, phonics, and vocabulary instruction, and use of a speech-language therapist if necessary, that have proven results in accelerating student reading achievement within the same school year.
e. A read-at-home plan.
(8) COORDINATED SCREENING AND PROGRESS MONITORING SYSTEM.
(a) The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Office of Early Learning, shall procure and require the use of a statewide, standardized coordinated screening and progress monitoring system for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program and public schools serving kindergarten through grade 8 students. The system must:
1. Measure student progress in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program through grade 8 in meeting the appropriate expectations in early literacy and mathematics skills and in English Language Arts and mathematics standards as required by ss. 1002.67(1)(a) and 1003.41.
2. Measure student performance in oral language development, phonological and phonemic awareness, knowledge of print and letters, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, as applicable by grade level.
3. Be a valid, reliable, and developmentally appropriate computer-adaptive direct instrument that provides screening and diagnostic capabilities for monitoring student progress; identifies students who have a substantial deficiency in reading, including identifying students with characteristics of dyslexia; and informs instruction.
4. Provide data for Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program accountability as required under s. 1002.67.
5. Provide Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers, school districts, schools, and teachers with data and resources that enhance differentiated instruction and parent communication.
6. Provide information to the department to aid in the development of educational programs, policies, and supports for providers, districts, and schools.
(b) Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, private Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers and public schools must participate in the screening and progress monitoring system. The screening and progress monitoring system must be administered at least three times within a program year or school year, as applicable, with the first administration occurring no later than the first 30 instructional days after the start of the program year or school year pursuant to state board rule.
(c) A Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program student who is at risk of being identified as having a substantial deficiency in early literacy skills, based upon results under this subsection, must be referred to the school district in which he or she resides and may be eligible to receive early literacy instruction and interventions after program completion and before participating in kindergarten. Such instruction and interventions may be paid for using funds from the school district’s evidence-based reading instruction allocation in accordance with 5s. 1011.62(9).
(d) Screening and progress monitoring system results, including the number of students who demonstrate characteristics of dyslexia, shall be reported to the department pursuant to state board rule and maintained in the department’s Education Data Warehouse. Results must be provided to a student’s teacher and parent in a timely manner as required in s. 1008.22(7)(g).
(e) The department, in collaboration with the Office of Early Learning, shall provide training and support for effective implementation of the screening and progress monitoring system.
(9) ANNUAL REPORT.
(a) In addition to the requirements in paragraph (5)(c), each district school board must annually report to the parent of each student the progress of the student toward achieving state and district expectations for proficiency in English Language Arts, science, social studies, and mathematics. The district school board must report to the parent the student’s results on each statewide, standardized assessment and the screening and progress monitoring system under subsection (8). The evaluation of each student’s progress must be based upon the student’s classroom work, observations, tests, district and state assessments, response to intensive interventions provided under paragraph (5)(a), and other relevant information. Progress reporting must be provided to the parent in writing in a format adopted by the district school board.
(b) Each district school board must annually publish on the district website and in the local newspaper the following information on the prior school year:
1. The provisions of this section relating to public school student progression and the district school board’s policies and procedures on student retention and promotion.
2. By grade, the number and percentage of all students in grades 3 through 10 performing at Levels 1 and 2 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment.
3. By grade, the number and percentage of all students retained in kindergarten through grade 10.
4. Information on the total number of students who were promoted for good cause, by each category of good cause as specified in paragraph (6)(b).
5. Any revisions to the district school board’s policies and procedures on student retention and promotion from the prior year.
(10) RULEMAKING.The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 for the administration of this section.
History.s. 371, ch. 2002-387; s. 8, ch. 2003-118; s. 6, ch. 2004-42; s. 6, ch. 2004-255; s. 119, ch. 2006-1; s. 42, ch. 2006-74; s. 186, ch. 2008-4; s. 9, ch. 2010-22; s. 23, ch. 2012-191; s. 34, ch. 2013-27; s. 72, ch. 2014-39; s. 22, ch. 2014-184; s. 116, ch. 2015-2; s. 9, ch. 2015-6; s. 55, ch. 2017-116; s. 15, ch. 2021-9; s. 66, ch. 2021-10; s. 11, ch. 2021-193.
1Note.Redesignated as s. 1011.62(8) by s. 3, ch. 2021-44, and amended by s. 18, ch. 2021-9, to reference an evidence-based reading instruction allocation in place of the research-based reading instruction allocation.
2Note.Section 12, ch. 2021-193, provides that “[t]he Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed met, to adopt emergency rules under s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of implementing provisions related to the New Worlds Reading Initiative Tax Credit created by this act. Notwithstanding any other law, emergency rules adopted under this section are effective for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.”
3Note.Redesignated as paragraph (e) by the editors to conform to the addition of paragraph (b) by s. 66, ch. 2021-10.
4Note.Redesignated as paragraph (d) by the editors to conform to the addition of paragraph (b) by s. 66, ch. 2021-10.
5Note.Redesignated as s. 1011.62(8) by s. 3, ch. 2021-44.