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Local students score just below average on algebra test

By Staff | Jun 8, 2011

Overall the Lee County School District had an average score of 48 on the Algebra 1 End of Course test, which was lower than the state average of 49.43.
This is the first year the online test was administered.
Accountability, Testing and Continuous Improvement Director Dr. Richard Itzen said in terms of the results, the school district is not unhappy with the outcome.
“The performance of the district was comparable to other districts,” he said. “Overall it gives us good information on how we are doing in algebra instruction and we will be looking at that closely in the near future.”
Broward and Hillsborough had an average score of 51 and Palm Beach County had an average score of 50. Orange and Pinellas County had the same score as Lee County, and Miami-Dade, Duval and Polk County had an average score of 47.
“Compared to the other large districts, our students performed on par with their classmates across Florida,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Lawrence Tihen said in a prepared statement. “I am confident that, like performance on other standardized tests, our student performance will increase in the coming years and set the standard for others to emulate.”
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Constance Jones said the district in currently in the process of reviewing the performance of the students and determining what their scores will equate to in regards of a letter grade.
“Our first step is to look at results and determine the cut off for letters A through F,” Jones said, since the test is 30 percent of the students’ school grade this year.
Since this is the first year the test was administered, Jones said it is hard to determine what had an affect on the overall scores.
As soon as the district receives more detail on the test scores, Itzen said they will look and see if there are areas they need to focus on and improve.
“The primary focus right now is to incorporate these scores into students’ final grades for algebra, which is part of the legislation that was passed last spring,” he said.
In the past, the 9th grade students took the FCAT comprehensive math test on paper.
“The design of it was pretty much very similar to the FCAT test, he said about the algebra end of course test. The questions were either multiple choice or a grided response where the students had to write their answer in a grided box.
Although the students had 160 minutes to take the test, they were allowed extra time if needed.
“This was the first time we did a large scale online testing and from the procedural technology point of view it went very well,” Itzen said.
This year students who were in 9th grade had to pass algebra for graduation purposes.
“Passing or failing is not an issue this year,” he said because the test accounts for 30 percent of their grade.
Itzen said parents who had their children in 8th grade and 10th grade algebra classes and they took the test, the final score will not be included in their grade. A total of 6,181 students took the test the first year it was administrated.
Next year’s 9th grade students must pass the Algebra 1 End of Course test in order to get algebra credit.