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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida's new algebra exam: Mass failure expected



For the first time, students across Florida will take a mandated end-of-course exam in algebra. It will count for about one-third of a student's grade.

Next year, the test will become a graduation requirement.

Some testing experts aren't expecting good things, the Stuart News reports.

"What we are anticipating across the state is mass failure," St. Lucie assistant superintendent for assessment Owen Roberts told the paper. "The potential exists for this approach in the next couple of years to increase dropout rates and reduce graduation rates not only in our district but across the state."

Other observers have predicted added fallout from this and other end-of-course exams that are scheduled to come online in the next few years. Among their concerns are more limited elective options and difficulty finding teachers able to teach the courses. Yet Florida leaders remain committed to ramping up the "rigor and relevance" of the state curriculum, with individual tests to determine whether students have learned.

Many agree it's better than the one-test-fits-all FCAT, but the question remains: Are the end-of-course exams the best way to go? What do you think?

[Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 8:29am]


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