Florida Education Leaders to Review Drop in FCAT Scores
Florida education leaders will huddle Tuesday after tougher grading standards helped cause dramatic drops in statewide reading and writing test scores among fourth, eighth and 10th graders.
With the FCAT test results used to grade schools for future funding, the state Board of Education must now determine how to use the scores.
Gov. Rick Scott released a statement calling it “obvious” that the state Department of Education must figure how to evenly compare the new scores with past results.
"Our students must know how to read and write, and our education system must be able to measure and benchmark their progress so we can set clear education goals,” Scott stated in a release.
“The significant contrast in this year's writing scores is an obvious indication that the Department of Education needs to review the issue and recommend an action plan so that our schools, parents, teachers and students have a clear understanding of the results."
Among the reasons for the drop in grades -- as an example, the percentage of fourth graders passing the written section fell from 81 percent to 27 percent -- are stricter grading and an increase in the number of students taking the tests.
House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West, noted that the Florida House Democratic Caucus remains opposed to overly relying upon single tests to assess students and schools.
"While the FCAT may be helpful as a diagnostic tool, it is now being misused as a measuring stick for how we assess student progress and how much we pay our school teachers,” Saunders stated in a release.