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All Daryl Bryant wanted was to teach, but his goal has now landed him in front of a judge.

Following the administrative hearing in Orlando, Bryant explained, “I wrote an essay that should be scored higher than it received.”

Bryant is one of two Florida teachers fighting the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) over how it scores teacher tests.

Bryant, who’s been teaching P.E. at a Cocoa charter school for 3 years, says he failed the essay portion of the state’s teacher certification exam three times.

“I would like to be shown how it [essay] fails to pass based on what is stipulated in the grading process,” he said.
According to court documents, Bryant alleges that the FTCE essay grading process is “invalid and has errors.”
Bryant has a bachelor’s in physical education and information technology. During an administrative hearing on Wednesday,  he defended his writing by describing the use of tutors and his history as a writer and editor for the Boys and Girls Club monthly newsletter.

Pearson, the state and testing contractor, had their own defense. An attorney for the FDOE described a thorough scoring process that’s fair, detailed and consistent. At one point, the FDOE’s attorney, Bonnie Wilmot went so far as to say, “the process makes error almost impossible.”

Bryant spent $75 to go through the state’s score verification process. Betsy Griffy, who’s now retired after spending 36 years as a writing teacher at Florida State College, is a Pearson chief reviewer who reviewed Daryl’s essay. Examinees have this option if they want to challenge scores, but FDOE and Pearson admitted an examinee's challenge isn’t always read by a chief reviewer who reviews challenged tests.

“I am convinced that the process is substantial and credible,” said Griffy

The essay portion of the GK exam is part of a battery of “must-pass” tests for teachers in Florida. Since the exam was made tougher in 2015, failures on portions of the test have reached an all-time high - up nearly thirty percent in 2 years.

Data provided by the FDOE confirms that in 2014 the essay portion of the GK exam had a 93 percent passing rate for first time examinees. Once the test was revised to be more rigorous, passing rates dropped to 63 percent in 2015.  2016 passing rates improved slightly to 69 percent.
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