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Florida DOE releases guidance on mandated civics course, assessment

By Gene Koo

The Florida Department of Education has just released a memo answering Frequently-Asked Questions about the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act. Probably the most important piece of information is their confirmation of the following timeline:

  • 2011 – 2012: The reading portion of the language arts curriculum within the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards must include civics education content.
  • 2012 – 2013: Students entering grade 6 must achieve successful completion of at least a one-semester civics education course in the middle grades. The Civics EOC Assessment must be administered as a field test at the middle school level.
  • 2013 – 2014: A student’s performance on the statewide administered Civics EOC Assessment must constitute 30 percent of the student’s final course grade. Baseline data will be collected to establish a minimum passing score on the Civics EOC Assessment.
  • 2014 – 2015: A student must earn a passing score on the statewide-administered Civics EOC Assessment in order to pass the course and be eligible for promotion from middle school. The Civics EOC Assessment will become part of school grading.

Also, it appears that remediation will be left largely for individual school districts to implement:

School districts are encouraged to create as many pathways as possible for students to ensure success on the Civics EOC Assessment. The Department will offer a new M/J United States History with Civics course which will be the equivalent to the middle grades course in United States History. This will allow for remediation within an existing course. The Department also anticipates offering a new M/J Intensive Social Studies course to be taken during the school year, through a summer-term session, or as an online course to offer remediation for students who do not pass the Civics EOC Assessment. Districts are not limited by these options; other remediation options may be provided to meet the needs of the student population.

For teachers who are nervous about teaching a new subject, professional development help is available:

The 2010 Florida Legislature provided initial funding to The Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida in partnership with the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship for teacher professional development related to this new requirement.

Schools can meet the newly-required civics education course requirement with either one- or two-semester courses:

iCivics is now developing lesson plans that will satisfy Florida's standards. To find lesson plans matched to Florida's curriculum, please search for "Florida" in our Curriculum Finder.