FCAT failures, high school grads
Just in case you were too busy mopping up gravy late last week, we wanted to make sure you saw this Thanksgiving Day St. Petersburg Times story about Florida’s rising graduation rates. A big reason for last year's strong increase, the story notes, are kids who failed the FCAT exit exam (which is the 10th-grade FCAT) but still managed to earn what the state says is a comparable (but really, really low) score on the ACT or SAT. Those students accounted for 43 percent of last year’s diploma growth.
Gradebook readers, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is it fair to have the FCAT be one of the main hurdles for graduating? Does it make sense to offer students another route if they can't pass it (on three or more tries, we should add)? Is the "alternate assessment" option a loophole, intended to pad one of the nation’s worst graduation rates? Is it a reasonable exemption that fairly brings Florida's rate more in line with other states? Does it undermines accountability?