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FCAT scores for Lee County third graders released

By Staff | May 27, 2010

Scores for how Lee County third graders performed on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test were released Thursday.
In the spring of 2010, 6,468 third graders took the FCAT Reading exam and 76 percent passed with a score of 3 or above, while 6,460 took the FCAT Mathematics exam and 79 percent passed. The FCAT exams are multiple choice and are graded on a scale of 1 to 5.
The results are slightly higher than state averages, but Lee County officials said more work needs to be done to increase performance on the FCAT.
“The results show our performance is ahead of the state average, but it’s not where we want to be,” said Lee County Superintendent James Browder, in a statement from the school district. “We continue to work to see where we can improve and what we can do to help all students do their very best.”
This set of scores were released early because they are considered higher priority, according to state officials from the Florida Department of Education. If a third grade student doesn’t score above a 1 on the FCAT,
he or she can be retained, therefore officials get the scores posted as early as possible.
Dr. Richard Itzen, director of Accountability, Research and Continuous Improvement, said the district’s reading scores were the same from last year, yet scores in math dropped from 81 to 79 percent. But, he pointed out that scores in Lee County are still higher than state averages which are 72 percent in reading and 78 percent in math.
An analysis of students who scored a 1 in reading indicates that approximately 830 could be retained. Yet, scoring a 1 on the FCAT doesn’t necessarily mean a student is going to be held back.
“The schools are looking closely at all of those things now and we will be making some of those decisions here shortly and some at the end of summer school,” said Itzen.
Itzen said a number of “good cause” exemptions allow students who score a 1 on the FCAT Reading exam to be promoted to the fourth grade, according to state statutes.
Exemptions exist for English Language Learners, for ESE students, those who passed an alternative assessment after the FCAT, and for any students who have already been retained twice. Any of these exemptions may qualify a student to be promoted even if they scored a 1 on the FCAT, but decisions are made on an individual basis.
Those scoring a 1 in reading can take the SAT-10 (Stanford Achievement Test) in early June and attend a summer reading program in July, and tested again. Results from the 2010 SAT-10 test indicate that 85 percent of Lee County students from kindergarten to second grade scored on grade level in reading, one point higher than in 2008-2009.
Statewide scores are also being released early for high school seniors who retook one section of the exam because they previously failed.
Remaining FCAT scores are expected to be sent to districts between the week of June 7-11.