Putting Education Reform To The Test

Panel Recommends Lowering Passing Score For FCAT Writing, But Will Education Commissioner Agree?

Southworth Sailor/flickr

A team of educators and community leaders gathered this week to set standards for FCAT 2.0 writing.

The panel went through a lot of data before settling on a school grade writing performance level of 3.5. That means students would need to score 3.5 out of a possible 6 to pass.

The recommendation would lower the cut score from a 4. Writing test results plummeted this year because of the passing score of 4 and the tougher grading standards.

The number is used to determine who passes FCAT writing in grades 4, 8, and 10.

The 20-member panel represented a cross-section of stakeholders statewide.

“As a student, I had never had the opportunity to be exposed to the process behind the decisions that affect the FCAT,” Reagan McKendree, a panel member and high school student in Baker County, said in a press release. “I’m grateful I was given a chance to express my opinions.”

The reasoning behind the panel’s recommendation will be presented to Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson for his consideration. Then, it will go before the State Board of Education this fall.

The question is whether Robinson will accept the recommendation or ignore it as he did last year when new reading scores were proposed.

A panel of experts recommended a reading score of 243 for the 10th grade FCAT. Robinson recommended a score two points higher, even though superintendents widely supported the lower cut score.

Robinson said higher standards were needed and that students would rise to the occasion.


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