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College and Career Readiness in Florida




Florida was the sixth and final state to join SREB’s Strenghening Statewide College/Career Readiness Initiative (SSCRI). The initial work in Florida has been driven in large part by the state legislature. In 2008, Senate Bill 1908 expanded the common placement testing for postsecondary education and extended opportunities for remediation to high school seniors. The legislation has led to cross-sector (secondary-postsecondary) cooperative efforts to expand the college/career readiness testing of 11th-grade students who express postsecondary intent, and further collaborative efforts to make postsecondary remediation available to 12th-grade students who demonstrate a need or interest in additional preparation. Important goals of this law are to: 1) increase the number and percentage of students who graduate from high school "college and career ready"; 2) better communicate with 11th-grade students and their parents the requirements and opportunities for enrollment in college-credit courses without a need for remediation, and; 3) to provide students, whose test scores in Reading, Writing and/or Mathematics indicate any gaps, an opportunity to attain needed competencies in 12th-grade prior to high school graduation. Ultimately, this legislation will help graduate better prepared students, increase access to postsecondary opportunities, enhance career success, and promote student retention and completion in college.

In 2009, several state policy and education leaders, together with SREB staff, developed an action plan for professional development to assist high school teachers implement the courses developed in response to Senate Bill 1908. Because Florida education leaders were further along with their own college- and career-ready agenda as a result of Senate Bill 1908, SREB did not prepare a state progress report.



Florida's Standards and Assessments


Florida has officially adopted the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. Florida is one of 26 states comprising the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) with the primary goal of implementing a common assessment that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

On October 25 2010, the Florida Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) was launched and made available to colleges within the Florida College System. The P.E.R.T. is the first of its kind to be customized and aligned with the Florida Postsecondary Readiness Competencies (PRCs) developed by Florida faculty. The PRCs are comprised of a subset of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards, American Diploma Project Benchmarks and Florida Basic Skills for exit from developmental education. The assessment is available to high school and college students and will be the primary placement assessment used by The Florida College System. This test will also allow high school staff to place students into the proper transitional courses in the senior year, possibly preventing students from taking development education courses in college.

The next step is to develop diagnostic tests aligned with statewide developmental education competencies established by Florida faculty to identify specific areas of weakness in reading, writing and mathematics that will enable faculty to customize instruction. In the final phase of the project, developmental education courses will be restructured based on the developmental education competencies and each college will offer the same developmental education course sequences. This redesign will result in the guarantee of course transfer for students who transfer within the developmental education course sequence.



Florida's Transitional Courses


As a result of Senate Bill 1908, courses have been implemented in the high schools that incorporate the same competencies that the colleges have imbedded in their developmental education (also known as college prep) courses to prepare students for entry-level credit bearing postsecondary courses. These courses are targeted for 12th-graders whose placement scores are below the established cut score indicating that they are not "college-ready." The Florida Department of Education approved course numbers and descriptions for mathematics and English transitional courses. There was limited offering during 2009-2010 school year and enrollment increased slightly during the 2010-11 school year. The one-half credit elective transitional courses are:

  • Mathematics for College Success
  • Reading for College Success
  • Writing for College Success

Successful completion of these courses while in high school will exempt students from further placement testing/postsecondary remediation if they enroll in a community college within two years of completion. Successful completion requires a grade of “C” or better in the course and a passing score on the Florida College Basic Skills Exit Test.

Additional one-credit mathematics and English courses were developed to align with entry-level college credit bearing courses. The two additional courses are:

  • Mathematics for College Readiness
  • English IV: Florida College Prep

In May 2011, the Florida legislature passed House Bill 1255, which codified a requirement for all students who test as not prepared for college-level work on the FCAT in the 10th-grade, must take the appropriate college readiness courses. This language thus requires all Florida high schools to offer the five transitional courses for math and English.  




Florida's Teacher Development Efforts


In the summer of 2010, the Florida Department of Education, with support from SREB’s college-readiness grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, held a dozen train-the-trainer meetings across the state for district-level principals, guidance counselors and teachers. Faculty members from the Florida College System were invited as well in order to train high school teachers in their service area. An additional statewide train-the-trainer workshop was held in late October 2010 for mathematics and English transitional course teachers. Further statewide teacher training will be necessary with the passage of HB 1255 in the coming year. State leaders are also planning for the development of online resources for the transitional course teachers and students.

The FLDOE has provided resources regarding the transitional courses and professional development online at: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/CommonPlacementTesting.asp.


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