Make the FCAT harder?
That's what Florida should consider doing to make sure its high school graduates are better prepared for college, says a report released today by the Legislature's well-respected research arm.
The Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability actually made that recommendation back in 2006, when it reported that a whopping 78 percent of Florida community college students need remedial classes. But OPPAGA repeated it today because, it said, the Department of Education has yet to re-examine passing scores on the 10th grade FCAT - the one students must pass to earn a standard diploma.
"While scoring the minimum Level 2 on the FCAT helps ensure that students have mastered basic academic concepts, it does not ensure students are prepared for college level work," the report said.
(But wait. Don't FCAT critics say the 10th grade test is too hard? This year, 38 percent passed the reading portion. Wouldn't upping the cut-off score mean fewer kids graduating?)
In another recommendation, OPPAGA said state officials should beef up accountability for remediation programs at community colleges. A 2007 report found only 52 percent of students needing remediation finish those programs.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter