1. The Education Gradebook

Newly aligned ACT, SAT scores spell relief for high school students

Florida's high school juniors don't have to wait any longer to learn whether their ACT and SAT scores are good enough to qualify as a graduation requirement.

The state Department of Education on Thursday released new scores that tie the two national exams to what is considered a passing mark on the FCAT 2.0 reading test.

A student may fulfill the graduation requirement using an ACT score of 19 or an SAT score of 430. The previous scores tied to the older FCAT had been 18 and 420.

There had been much consternation in the high schools in recent months as the state did not calculate the ACT and SAT scores that would be considered equivalent to passing the FCAT 2.0. Thousands of juniors faced uncertainty as the next FCAT administration approached.

Department officials told districts they did not expect to have the newly aligned scores until fall.

But after the Tampa Bay Times reported the controversy in mid January, Senate Education Policy committee chairman John Legg called upon new education commissioner Tony Bennett to fix the problem quickly. Bennett shot off a memo to superintendents the same day, saying a resolution was likely before the end of the month — much sooner than expected.

On Thursday, he made good on that pledge.