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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Maybe Florida's initial FCAT writing scores weren't that far off



Before the Florida Board of Education changed the passing score, just over a quarter of Florida's fourth-, eighth- and tenth-graders demonstrated proficiency on the FCAT writing exam

The latest results from the national NAEP writing exam suggest that those results probably were on target. Those outcomes show that 24 percent of test takers in the eighth and twelfth grades performed at the Proficient level, compared to 3 percent Advanced and 54 percent Basic. The NAEP exam was given on computer, with students having to respond to two questions with 30 minutes for each. See question samples here.

Other interesting highlights from the NAEP national results for the test (state breakdowns were not available):

  • At both grades, black and Hispanic students had lower average scores than white students, Asian students, and students of two or more races. Female students outscored male students.
  • At both grades, students who used the backspace key and thesaurus tool more frequently scored higher than those who engaged in these actions less frequently.
  • English language learners were less likely to use the thesaurus tool than non-English language learners.
  • The average writing score for eighth graders attending public schools was 16 points lower than the average score for students attending private schools, and 18 points lower than students in Catholic schools.

"Writing is fundamental to effective communication, especially in an era in which email and other word-processed documents are the norm rather than the exception," NAEP governing board chairman David Driscoll said in a release. "Our nation’s students need to write clearly, logically, and accurately. We need to focus on supporting students beyond Basic levels so that they have a solid grasp of effective writing skills."

[Last modified: Friday, September 14, 2012 3:29pm]


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