Pomp and circumstance and graduation gowns will not be part of the program for 10,371 Florida High School seniors. Seven percent of this year’s seniors will not graduate because they did not pass the FCAT. Last year it was 10 percent. Still, these high school students, whose graduation is not affected, have mixed feelings.
Avan Aziz, a high school freshman, says, "I think the FCAT does show your ability of reading comprehension and your mathematical abilities to the level which you should be passing."
More than 40,000 third graders also face the possibility of repeating. More than half will meet other criteria to go forward, but after this year’s test some 2,000 could face third grade for the third year in a row.
Jim Wolford, K-12 chancellor, says, "We’ve got to focus more resources. We’ve got to test those students to be sure that there is not a learning disability or there is not another problem that is contributing to that issue, and I’m sure that is what’s going on in schools."
Like previous years, parents will not be allowed to see actual test results.
Two bills filed in the Legislature this year would have let parents and their students actually see FCAT questions, but those bills died without even getting a hearing. So for now, parents and students will continue to have to accept the test results with no recourse.
One third of the seniors who didn’t graduate because of low FCAT scores last year were admitted to community colleges after passing the test last summer or taking the GED.