Putting Education Reform To The Test

FCAT Writing Scores Plunge, State Department Wants To Lower Passing Score

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The Florida Department of Education is recommending lowering the passing score on the FCAT writing test to 3.5 from 4.

Florida’s Board of Education has called an emergency meeting tomorrow to talk about state writing test standards.

According to materials the board has posted online, the state Department of Education is recommending lowering the required score needed to pass the test to 3.5 from 4 (out of six).

That might be because the percentage of students passing the test has nose-dived this year after the state board increased grading standards this year.

The change would dramatically increase the percentage of students who would earn a passing grade score this year, according to the report.

Among fourth graders, for instance, 81 percent earned a score of 4 or better last year. This year, just 27 percent scored 4 or better. By lowering the needed score to a 3.5, 48 percent of students would earn a passing score.

The change would result in a similar percentage of students passing in both 8th and 10th grades as well.

The change is possible because the state contract with testing firm Pearson, now requires two scorers. In the past, just one person would grade the tests. That makes a score of 3.5 possible.

Read the memo to board members below.

We’ll take a look at what the change means and add updates later. Leave your thoughts below.



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