Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Florida’s Education Commissioner Raised the Bar on Reading

Florida Department of Education

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson is recommending higher 10th grade reading requirements.

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said his decision to raise reading test requirements means fewer students will pass, but that state teachers and students will rise to the occasion

Of particular concern are the new reading requirements for 10th graders on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Students must meet a minimum score in order to be considered proficient and graduate from high school.

School district superintendents have said the current scores are too high. A panel of school, college and business experts recommended a score of 243.

Robinson announced Wednesday he recommends 10th graders score at least 245.

The state department of education estimates that 52 percent of 10th graders would meet the new standards, based on last year’s testing. About 60 percent of students met the current standard.

School officials have questioned whether higher standards are based on data or pressure from high-profile education advocates, such as former Gov. Jeb Bush. Robinson said raising standards will ensure students are ready to enter college and the workforce.

“We’re putting students on a consistent path to college and careers starting in elementary school,” Robinson said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m confident that Florida’s students and educators will meet the challenge. They have before.”

The Florida Board of Education is expected to vote on the new standards later this month. This is the first time in 10 years that the state has adjusted its test requirements.


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