Ninth Graders Fail End of Course Exams

Tallahassee, FL -- June 1, 2012 --

Forget Disney World, or even the beach. Many Florida ninth graders will spend their summer in school, because they flunked Algebra.

On a conference call Friday morning, the Florida Department of Education told reporters more than 58-thousand ninth graders failed the end-of-course algebra exam. That’s more than half of the students that took the test.

Later the Commissioner of Education, Gerard Robinson, told reporters the good news is there’s time for a do-over.

“We actually have several programs for students who did not pass, to take courses in remediation,” said Robinson.

This is the first time ever ninth graders have had to pass the test in order to graduate. It’s part of the state’s efforts to set higher standards and to phase out the FCAT.

By 2015, students will also have to pass tests in Geometry and Biology to get their degree.

“So we will actually have some of the best educated students in the United States,” said Robinson.

Leon High School students scored better than most, with 8 out of 10 passing campus wide. Still there will be more summer school students, stretching budgets thin.

“We are probably only have to remediate 40 or 50 kids, where other schools throughout the state, we’re talking hundreds and that’s going to be a major problem. You can’t continue to cut, cut, cut and ask more, more, more,” said Leon County Principal Rocky Hanna.

Students who opt out of summer school algebra, can take the course online or wait till next year. But waiting means they risk falling even further behind.

Commissioner Robinson says the test will better prepare students for the PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. The test will replace the FCAT beginning in the 2014- 2015 School year.

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