Think your child earned a top score on last year's FCAT?
Parents might get an unpleasant surprise this year when they open their child's FCAT report card. The state is including "retrofitted" 2011 reading and math scores to show how students would have done if they had taken this year's tougher test. The 2012 scores also will be shown.
No child will be penalized because of the 2011 scores, state education officials said. But it could be an ego-bruising experience for a lot of parents and students.
For instance, fourth-graders who earned the highest of five possible scores on the third-grade reading exam could find themselves downgraded, a year after acing the test. Or worse, they could find out that they would have failed.
Reading and math exams are scored from Level 1 to Level 5, with 5 being the top score. Third-graders who fail the reading exam can be held back.
Reading and math tests were tougher this year and the state raised the bar to earn a grade-level score. Statewide, that meant a decline in the number of students who were considered proficient.
That means retrofitted scores likely will be a disappointment for many families.
Cheryl Etters, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said the adjusted 2011 scores aren't meant to hurt feelings. It's the only way to give parents a fair year-to-year comparison of student test scores.
"If it's a fourth-grader and they were promoted, then it's moot," she said.
Parents should receive the FCAT 2.0 Reading and Mathematics Parent and Student Report as student scores become available. The report is a four-page color folder, which includes student scores and explanations about the FCAT.
This year, it also will include a letter from education commissioner Gerard Robinson about changes to the state's accountability system.
Parents will see retrofitted scores in the reports only if their child is old enough to have a history of FCAT scores and have taken certain tests. Writing and science tests, for instance, haven't been fully converted to the state's harder test, FCAT 2.0.
The state already has released writing scores for fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders, reading and math scores for third-graders and reading results for ninth- and 10th-graders. Results for new end-of-course exams in biology and geometry also have been released.
Still to come are science results for fifth- and eighth-graders; reading and math scores for grades three to eight; and school grades. State officials said Friday there was no definite date for the release of the remaining scores or school grades.
Cara Fitzpatrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (727) 893-8846 or on Twitter @Fitz_ly.