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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Schools bracing for worse FCAT scores, plenty of algebra 1 failures

From the Orlando Sentinel, by Leslie Postal

In the next two months, many of Florida’s public school students will take FCAT and/or new end-of-course exams. Everyone expects many lousy scores on all of these standardized reading, math and science tests.

Florida has revamped its FCAT scoring system to make it tougher for students to get good marks, as we’ve reported before. The expected result is that fewer students will get a 3 (a grade-level score) or better on the 5-level exams, so more students will face retention, remedial classes and the fear they might not get a diploma.

Central Florida schools are bracing for the change by starting preparations for additional remedial classes and by, in some cases, even sending home warning letters to parents, colleague Eric Rodriguez reported earlier this week.

The same is true across Florida, as we’ve seen stories from the Keys to the Panhandle explaining how educators are trying to prepare parents for scores that likely won’t look as good as they did in past years.

“We are trying to give parents a heads up because what’s going to happen is when little Sally and Johnny come home and they’ve been making a level 3 or level 4 and they drop down a level to level 2 or 3 they are going to get upset and wanting at know what happened,” said Bay County Superintendent Bill Husfelt, in a story from WMBB.

No one knows for sure how bad the scores will be, but the state’s estimates do show some dramatic changes for some tests.

Consider: Last year, 74 percent of fourth graders earned a grade level mark or better on FCAT math (that is 3 or above). The estimate for this year is that only 58 percent will do that well. That means some 82,000 fourth graders will be below grade level in math and need more intensive help the next year.

And the new algebra 1 end-of-course exam could have a passing rate of about 46 percent, leaving more than 90,000 students who must take the exam again. Students must now pass that test to earn a diploma.

1 comment:

  1. Not everyone thinks this is a bad thing. I had students pass their Algebra EOC last year, that couldn't pass a single exam in class. Elementary schools have been doing fantastic, while the high schools have been failing. It's time to level the playing field.