Department of Education Begins Releasing Results of FCAT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –The Florida Department of Education today released the results of the 2014 FCAT 2.0 writing (grades four, eight and 10) and third-grade reading and math assessments. Among the bright spots, the percentage of students in grades eight and 10 with passing scores on the writing assessment increased by two percentage points since 2013.
Scores also indicate there was some improvement made in closing the achievement gap. In third-grade reading, Hispanic students made a one percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or above (Level 3 – passing) and a two percentage point increase in the percent of students scoring Level 4 and above. African-American students made a percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or above (Level 3 – passing) and a one percentage point increase in the number of students scoring Level 4 and above.
“Every single time Florida’s achievement gap gets smaller, that’s something to celebrate,” said Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future (@AFloridaPromise). “Teachers are working hard to equip every child for a lifetime of success. We’ll get there by continuing to raise expectations to keep all of our students competitive across the state, country and around the globe.”
However, results show there are still improvements to be made. Fourth-grade writing scores showed a four percentage point decrease in the number of students passing (scoring 3.5 or above). In third-grade reading and math, the results are also static.
“The leveling of scores we’re seeing particularly in third-grade reading and math should spur action,” added Levesque. “Our students are not yet where they need to be to reach their full potential, and we need to do everything we can to give students the boost they need. Reading, math, and writing skills in Florida should be given support and attention from every level of our education system, and from our local communities to help our kids rise to the higher levels they are capable of achieving.”
Only in third and tenth grade is the FCAT used in promotion or graduation decisions, but even then, the state recognizes that one test on one day should not be the sole factor in retaining a student. Options such as retakes, alternative assessments, or – for third graders – teacher-created portfolios, are available for Florida students.
Next year, Florida moves to a new assessment aligned with the new, more rigorous Florida Standards. Reading and writing will be combined on the new English/language arts assessment. The next big step is for Florida to set rigorous cut scores for student proficiency on these new assessments to ensure the expectations of mastering the knowledge and skills from the new Florida Standards are not compromised.
FCAT 2.0 reading, math, science, and end of course results for other grades will be released later this summer. To learn more about the release of 2014 FCAT 2.0 results, visit www.fldoe.org. For more information on Florida’s student-centered policies and education improvements over the years, visit www.aFloridaPromise.org.
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