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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Algebra I test stops thousands of Florida seniors from graduation

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Florida's Algebra I end-of-course exam continued to stymie many high school seniors this spring, preventing thousands from receiving their diplomas.

Newly available Department of Education records indicate that only 11 percent of 1,103 seniors passed the Algebra I FSA retake test, while 14 percent of 4,913 seniors succeeded on the FCAT 2.0 version, based on different standards, that was still available to them. A year ago, students sitting for the Algebra I spring retake (all grades) had a 15 percent passing rate.

Locally, Pasco and Pinellas county seniors exceeded the state passing rate, while Hernando and Hillsborough seniors did not.

The exam, attached to a course most students take in ninth grade or earlier, is one of the state's few "gatekeeper" assessments with major consequences attached. The state's other high school end-of-course exams count toward a student's course grade, but passage is not required to graduate.

Lawmakers have discussed eliminating the Algebra II EOC — its fate remains tied to the final outcome of the controversial education conforming bill (HB 7069) that has yet to reach Gov. Rick Scott. Algebra I, however, never even came up for conversation, although some lawmakers did explore alternative pathways to getting a diploma for students who struggle with testing.

Students can take the Algebra I EOC as many times as needed to pass it. They also can achieve the algebra requirement by earning a concordant score on an alternative PERT test.

The state already has released results for its other gatekeeper tests, third grade reading and tenth-grade reading retakes. All the rest of the state testing results in all grade levels are due out this week, by law.

So far, DOE officials have not provided any details about their release. We'll provide details as they become available. School grades will not come out until later in the summer.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 8, 2017 6:29pm]


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