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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Achievement gap on FCAT exit exam



Only 34 percent of black 10th graders and 49 percent of Hispanic 10th-graders passed the reading portion of the FCAT exit exam on the first try this year, compared to 70 percent of white 10th graders, according to state Department of Education data requested by The Gradebook.   

We know. FCAT season is over. But we were prompted to ask by a national report released this morning by the Center on Education Policy. CEP took a state-by-state look at exit exams, which more states are requiring students to pass to graduate. And its report included a breakdown of the 2007 10th-grade FCAT scores by a long list of sub-groups, including minorities, migrants and students on free/reduced lunch.   

To see the 2008 breakdown provided to The Gradebook, click here. DOE spokesman Tom Butler cautioned that the data has not completed the quality assurance process yet so the finalized numbers may be slightly different.

In Florida, seniors must get a minimal score on the tenth-grade FCAT to earn a standard diploma. Students can re-take the test multiple times. They can also fail to get a diploma for other reasons, such as not earning enough credits. But the pass-the-FCAT requirement – which has been criticized both for being too hard and too easy – has gotten the most ink.

The center found by 2012, 26 states will require passage on exit exams for graduation. But it also found more states are moving to include end-of-course exams, a type of standardized test that, unlike the FCAT, is directly aligned with high school courses. Last year, four states had such tests. By 2015, 14 will.

Florida is not listed among them, but the state has made moves towards such a system and got direction from the Legislature this year to begin developing one.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:53am]


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