FCAT Writing Score Changed

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL -- May 15, 2012 --

Last year 81 of every 100 students passed the FCAT writing test. This year that number fell to just 27. An emergency conference call by the state board of Education was told the drop was due to the way the tests were graded.

“The increased emphasis was on things like spelling, punctuation,” the state Board of Education said.

One parent told the board:

“The actual joy of learning is being sucked from our students,” Pasco County Parent Meg Fudd said.

Others call for an independent review of the testing company, which is being paid 254 million dollars over 5 years.

Excluding spelling and grammar means tests like this tenth grade sample, which is grammatically incorrect, would earn passing grades.

Again and again on the conference call, there were complaints that the top administrators in this building didn’t do a good job of telling local districts about the magnitude of the change that was coming.

Commissioner Gerard Robinson says the change is not a step backwards.

“No, I wouldn’t describe it as eating crow,” Robinson said. “I would describe it as a process that the board and myself took a look at data, we took a look at the fact that there was some lack of communication on our part to really prepare teachers and educators for the kind of impact it would have.”

Principle Rocky Hanna called the dramatic drop in passing scores a train wreck.

“Our teachers know what they’re doing,” Hanna said. “They will prepare these kids to move onto college. We don’t need all these standardized tests that are causing high levels of anxiety.”

Individual district writing scores are expected to be released on Friday.

Teachers Union officials say the state needs to review its testing policy.

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  • by Donna Location: Tallahassee on May 16, 2012 at 03:15 PM
    Concerning the fcat it needs to be deleted completely from all schools. They need to teach the subjects. My granddaughter graduated last year and she can not even write a check, she was an A/B student and has to take remedial math in college. Something is wrong. Too much on fcat and not enough on reading writing and math.
  • by Concerned mom on May 16, 2012 at 05:44 AM
    I believe part of the problem is that there are some children that are not ready to be promoted, but do to FCAT standards, the schools are sending them on and looking to FCAT to "catch" the kids and then they will be retained. Parents nor the children have any rights, even when the childs teacher is saying that the child would benefit from retention. The schools have lost focus on the education and are more concerned with their own grade, financial well being, and overall status. We need to get back to the basics and stop putting so much pressure on the kids due to FCAT.
  • by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 05:21 AM
    The story says "Principle Rocky Hanna..." It should be "Principal."
    • reply
      by why on May 17, 2012 at 06:11 AM in reply to
      to the spell checker get a life.
  • by Sarah Location: tally on May 16, 2012 at 04:24 AM
    Truth hurts sometimes. But no need to improve, just change the rules. You know like those shrinks that insist there are no loosers, we are all winners, we should make ourselves feel good all the time.
  • by towhatend? on May 16, 2012 at 04:12 AM
    How much more money do we as tax payers continue to throw at this useless test? Please follow Nebraska's example and require students to take an existing test, (SAT, ACT). FCAT means nothing in relation placement. FCAT provides nothing to vocation bound students. Use the money wisely, go back to providing vocational opportunities for those students who have no desire to attend college.
  • by Anonymous on May 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
    When Rick Scott and his cronies expect 4th graders to read "And it was that Moses came down from the mountain and threw the tablets upon the ground and those that were unbelievers were smote with a pillar of fire in their breasts" or something like that or " Methuselah spake unto the multitude and they were sore afraid" just because that's what they want every one to believe I'd have a hard time on the exam as well. Oh especially if I pay the testing company to make it really hard so that I can force my charter school and voucher program through the legislature. Heil Skeletor!
  • by Vicki Location: Tallahassee on May 15, 2012 at 07:50 PM
    You can't be serious! Would someone please tell me why DOE has to warn the districts earlier? "Like telling them at the end of last school year" so they have longer to prepare the teachers for what? They should have been teaching spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure all along!! I am not at all surprised that the test scores would fall that badly if they finally began grading on the entirety of the papers. Continue to dumb down America...
  • by the emperor has no clothes Location: Tallahassee on May 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
    Problem: Low scores.
    Solution: Change the scores. Problem solved!
    • reply
      by truth on May 17, 2012 at 06:12 AM in reply to the emperor has no clothes
      good post--
  • by Clyde Location: Greenville on May 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
    The problem is the constantly moving targets. If children and young adults can read with understanding (comprehension) and write with clarity, then they can read with understanding and write with clarity. Moving the target at every whim is not the answer. Set an acceptable standard, modify that standard as needed from time to time, but keep the target within reasonable achievement. The changes on the FCAT rubric,and the way the writing was scored, should have been communicated clearly to the districts at the end of the last year school year. That way, districts would have had the summer to prepare to help teachers to help their students. Common sense, please!
  • by el Location: tallahassee on May 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
    i think its bs! how many other kids in the past have failed a grade or not graduated because of this stupid test! lower the passing grade !! are you kidding! by the standards of this test doesnt it mean that these children are not ready for the next grade level? will they lower it again next year? im at a loss
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 03:18 AM in reply to el
      You should learn punctuation and capitalization and lead by example.
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