Florida pours billions into public education with no change in student achievement

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) released the 2013 FCAT 2.0 test results on Thursday, May 23rd.

According Anastasia Dawson from the  to the Tampa Tribune, “Statewide, only 17 percent of 23,182 students passed the retake of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test’s reading portion, while 21 percent of 8,143 students passed the math portion of the test. In Pinellas, 19 percent of the 781 that took the reading test passed, up from 18 percent last year, and 21 percent of the 216 that took the math test passed, up from 19 percent last year.”

“Students who don’t pass the FCAT retakes will not be eligible to receive their high school diplomas and instead will be given certificates of completion,” notes Dawson.

The statewide FCAT results for 3rd Grade students show no improvement in student reading performance. Only 57% of 3rd Graders achieved a satisfactory level of reading achievement. In 2013 43% of 3rd Graders are not reading at grade level. According to FDOE data 18% of 3rd Graders “demonstrated an inadequate level of success with the challenging content of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards”. This is no change from reading scores in 2011 and 2012.

The FDOE reported FCAT writing scores, “In 2013, 2 percent of students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were performing at 1.0 on FCAT 2.0 Writing. This is an increase from 1 percent in 2012. In 2013, 82 percent of students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were performing at 3.0 and above on FCAT 2.0 Writing. There is no state required “passing” score for FCAT 2.0 Writing that is used for promotion. However, FCAT 2.0 Writing scores are used in the calculation of school grades.

Dawson reports, “Scores plummeted last year after the state introduced new requirements for the FCAT writing test that were stricter on grammar, spelling and logical arguments. In response, the state decreased the satisfactory score that schools are graded on from a 3.5 to a 3.0 to help cushion the impact. The highest possible score is a six.”

Governor Rick Scott just did a “pay raise victory tour” around the state touting  his support for public school teachers. Perhaps he should have waited until the FCAT 2.0 scores were released?

Florida has transitioned from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test® (FCAT) to the FCAT 2.0 to align with new academic standards. The FCAT 2.0 measures student achievement of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS), which specify the challenging content Florida students are expected to know.

During the next two years, Florida will transition to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics. As part of this transition, Florida will replace the FCAT 2.0 and Florida End-of-Course Assessments currently being administered in writing, reading, and mathematics with new assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. FCAT 2.0 Reading and FCAT 2.0 Writing will be replaced by one assessment in English Language Arts.

Lower the standards for writing, increase public school teacher pay and get no change in student performance in reading and writing? Doing the same thing and expecting different results?

The Common Core is coming!

To learn more about FCAT 2.0 test results in Florida click here.