Florida’s education commissioner is defending his decision to toughen the standards for tenth grade reading. Commissioner Gerard Robinson acknowledges more students are likely to fail that portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). He is seeking a passing score that’s two points higher than a panel of school and business experts recommended.
Robinson told The Palm Beach Post editorial board this week that tougher scores are necessary to make sure high school graduates are ready for the next step. Tenth graders must pass the FCAT reading exam in order to graduate.
Only 60 percent of last year’s tenth graders passed the reading portion of the FCAT. That number would have been just 52 percent under Robinson’s scoring recommendations, equating to an additional 15-thousand students who wouldn’t have passed.
How might adults who’ve long been out of school fare on the FCAT? A school board member in Central Florida recently gave it a shot and probably wishes he hadn’t. Here are two quizzes you can try for yourself: math and reading at the tenth grade level.
If the Florida Board of Education approves Robinson’s recommendations next week, it will be the first change in state test requirements in a decade.