Summary of Horne v. Cooper – November 6, 2003 Ruling
In October of 2002, the Florida Department of Education and Commissioner of Education Jim Horne appealed the final judgment of Judge Janet E. Ferris of Leon County regarding parental and guardian access to the FCAT test booklets and scored answer sheets in Cooper v. Crist. The First District Court of Appeal, State of Florida, reversed the Cooper decision, finding that the FCAT test instruments, test booklets, and questions, “as distinguished from the test score,” are not “student records” as defined by Florida law. In so deciding, the First District Court of Appeal preserved the student records provision, now found in Section 1002.22(a)(e), Florida Statutes, which stipulates that student scores are student records. It additionally upheld other statutory provisions of the School Code which related to the same subject—the confidentiality provision, Section 1008.23, Florida Statutes, which requires the Department to keep all test instruments confidential, and the test security provision, Section 1008.24, Florida Statutes, which imposes criminal sanctions on anyone who releases confidential test instruments to examinees prior to testing. Appellate Court Justices J. Hawkes, CJ. Wolf, and J. Browning concurred in this reversal.