FCAT - the press conference
In a nutshell, commissioner Jeanine Blomberg praised teachers and students for continuing to do well on the essay section, while reporters asked lots of pointed questions about students' overall poor performance on the multiple choice section. Sixty percent of fourth graders scored at or above grade level on the latter part, as did 45 percent of eighth graders and 49 percent of tenth graders. Miami Herald reporter Nirvi Shah tried to get to the heart of the matter, asking how much students' reading ability (or lack of it) translates into their scores on the multiple choice questions. But DOE folks didn't go there. "This is only the second year that students and teachers have been preparing themselves to take a multiple choice exam," assessment administrator Cornelia Orr responded at one point. "I think that this performance will continue to increase." We'll see when the reading scores start to come out later in the spring. Maybe kids will care more in a couple of years, too, when the tenth grade writing score counts toward graduation. (That's for the Class of 2010, if you're keeping tabs on it.) For more information on the FCAT Writing results, click here.