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Commissioner recommends cut scores for FCAT science, end of course exams

After receiving recommendations from review panels and input from the public, Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart has proposed passing, or cut" scores for the FCAT Science 2.0 test as well as the state end-of-course exams in Biology and Geometry. With the scores she is putting forth, about half of fifth and eighth graders are projected to pass the FCAT Science test, while close to 60 percent of students are projected to pass the Biology exam and 55 percent to pass the Geometry exam. (See impacts here.)

Stewart's proposed cut scores are very similar to those supported by the state's "reactor" panels of experts. The passing score for eighth-grade science is a bit higher (203 compared to 200), while the passing score for Geometry is a bit lower (396 compared to 398).

"The standards setting process drew on the expertise of Florida educators, postsecondary faculty, and business and community leaders to analyze student achievement data and consider the impact on college readiness and students' ability to move to the next level," Stewart said in a news release. "Our students need to be able to compete in a global economy and acquiring those skills depends on the expectations we set for them and the learning opportunities we provide. In considering the panel's recommendations, I looked at balancing our higher expectations with encouraging continued student achievement, and I believe that we are on the right path."

The last time the state set cut scores for the FCAT, it found itself in a major battle with superintendents and parent groups. Time will tell if the same happens this time around. The recommendations are set to go to the State Board of Education on Dec. 12. Stay tuned. To see the proposed cut scores, read on.

Proposed achievement levels for the Geometry EOC Assessment (325 to 475) for each achievement level:

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5

325-369 370-395 396-417 418-433 434-475

Proposed achievement levels for the Biology 1 EOC Assessment (325 to 475) for each achievement level:

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5

325-368 369-394 395-420 421-430 431-475

Proposed achievement levels for the FCAT 2.0 Science (140 to 260) for each achievement level:

Grade Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5

5 140-184 185-199 200-214 215-224 225-260

8 140-184 185-202 203-214 215-224 225-260