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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FCAT writing scores are up

Florida students made gains in writing this year, with middle and high school students posting especially strong increases, according to FCAT results released this morning.

The FCAT writing test is given annually to students in fourth, eighth and tenth grades.

Statewide, 61 percent of fourth graders, 50 percent of eighth graders and 53 percent of tenth graders passed the test this year - up one point, five points and four points, respectively, from 2007.

In the Tampa Bay area, results were mixed. Pinellas made slight gains in all three grades, while in Hillsborough, fourth graders dropped three percentage points, eighth graders moved up four and tenth graders saw no change.

In Pasco, fourth graders were down two, eighth graders were up three and tenth graders were up four. In Hernando, fourth graders were up two, eighth graders were up three and tenth graders were static.

The test contains both an essay portion and multiple-choice questions, but last year was the first time both sections were combined into one score. The test continues to be in flux.

Last month, at the recommendation of Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith, the Board of Education nixed the multiple-choice portion for next year's test, and postponed using the entire test as another requirement for graduation. Smith cited concerns about cost and reliability.

This morning's announcement is the first for this year's FCAT scores. Results for other grades and subjects will be rolled out in coming weeks. To see the writing results by district, click here.

UPDATE: Commissioner Smith just weighed in on the results with a press release: "These results are evidence that the tremendous efforts of our teachers have a direct and positive impact on our children's futures."

The release also notes that parents can see their kids' writing scores via the FCAT Parent Network, beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 13. They'll need to use the secure login and password provided by their school, the release says.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:41am]


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