Browder: 2010 FCAT scores encouraging
Lee County scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test were finally released Tuesday after nearly a month delay.
The scores are usually released before the conclusion of the school year, but NBC Pearson, the company contracted to score the exam, announced last month that they would be delayed.
The company has a four-year, $254 million contract with the Florida Department of Education to score exams statewide, reported the Associated Press. But, at the beginning of June the company said a software glitch would prevent scores from being released until this summer.
Students who retook the FCAT exam this year, because they failed it previously, did receive their scores on time, and that was important because the state exam is a requirement for graduation.
Superintendent James Browder described the 2010 FCAT results as encouraging.
“The preliminary review of the FCAT results is encouraging for our students and schools,” said Browder in an official statement. “We’ll start to examine the results to determine where our strengths are and where we need to focus more effort to ensure our students do their very best.”
Thirty-eight percent of the 5,335 Lee County students who took the FCAT Reading exam in 10th grade scored a 3 or above, while 69 percent of 5,301 local students also scored a 3 or above on the FCAT Mathematics exam.
The FCAT Science exam is taken in grade 11 and like the other FCAT exams, students must score a 3 or above to be considered passing. Out of 4,995 Lee County students who took the science exam, 33 percent reached or surpassed that level.
Ninety-four percent of Lee County students passed the FCAT Writing exam, which tests a student’s writing ability by asking them to compose essays.
According to a letter from Florida Education Chancellor Frances Haithcock to district superintendents, scoring of the writing exam was changed this year. Previously, it had been scored by two people but for the first time the FLDOE decided to have only one scorer to conserve funding.
She said some districts were apprehensive about how the change would effect school grades, but explained that the state would use the average of students scoring a 3 or above this year to determine if students passed, and increase that to 4 or above next year.
The Lee County School District reported gains in each of the four FCAT exam areas for high school students. In comparing the percent of students passing from 2009 to this year, district officials found a 2 percent increase in reading, 3 percent in mathematics, 2 percent in science and 3 percent in writing.
Elementary schools in Cape Coral and throughout Lee County performed substantially higher than their secondary school counterparts. District reading scores indicated that 76 percent of third graders scored a 3 or above in 2010, but that percent of students decreased to 69 percent in seventh grade and 38 percent in grade 10.
The trend in mathematics this year began at 79 percent in the third grade, dropped to 60 percent in seventh grade and increased again by the 10th grade where 69 percent are scoring a 3 or above.
Not only is the test a measure of student academic performance, but it also effects student promotion and graduation.
For more information on the FCAT or the 2010 scores, visit www.fldoe.org.