Florida high school juniors get compromise on FCAT replacement scores
Just a week ago, the Florida Department of Education announced it would change the scores that high school students could get on the SAT or ACT to replace their exit-level FCAT results.
The replacement reading scores went up immediately for the entire Class of 2011 and beyond -- regardless of whether the students already had taken the ACT or SAT and earned a passing score.
While visiting Pasco County schools on Thursday, education commissioner Eric J. Smith got an earful on the unfairness of this from Pasco High principal Pat Reedy, who suggested that current juniors should be grandfathered into the old levels they were operating under.
Smith said he'd think about it. A day later he sent out new rules. Now, the juniors who had earned a pass under the old scores by Nov. 30 will get to keep them.
He wrote in his memo to superintendents:
"After further discussions with staff, I have determined that the policy guidance described below will take effect immediately.
Policy Guidance for FCAT Concordant Scores for High School Graduation
Any student who has taken the ACT or SAT prior to November 30, 2009, for use as a concordant score for a high school diploma may use either the new or old concordant scores to meet the high school graduation requirement. Any student, unless he/she is scheduled to graduate during this school year, 2009-10, who has not taken the ACT or SAT prior to November 30, 2009, must meet the new concordant score requirements [ACT Reading: 18; SAT Reading: 420; ACT Mathematics: 15; SAT Mathematics: 340]. For students holding a Certificate of Completion, the new requirements only apply to the subject area testing requirements not met previously under the old requirements."
Reedy sent word to his affected students and their teachers on Monday. Needless to say, there was celebrating although some of the juniors who put off taking the alternative tests "are kicking themselves."
"That's the quickest turnaround I've ever seen on an issue," Reedy said.