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Superintendent may have difficulty reaching goals

By Staff | Nov 9, 2011

The superintendent for the Lee County School District will face some challenges in meeting some of his goals, due to the Florida Board of Education looking to change the cut scores for FCAT testing.

The Lee County School Board held a workshop Tuesday afternoon to discuss an administrative performance assessment instrument that it can use for grading Dr. Joseph Burke’s goals.

At the beginning of the meeting, Burke said he would like to see the board address the 13 goals separately from his five incentive goals, which will come into play in December 2012.

Board Member Jeanne Dozier said they took information from several different instruments, which were placed together as a performance instrument for the district.

A numerical rating of how well Burke has done on each of the goals was agreed to by the board members.

Board Member Jane Kuckel proposed that they should use the ratings of zero for no progress; one for some progress; two for meets expectations and three for exceeds expectations.

The sections that are included in the sample performance assessment include leadership performance, information and analysis, strategic planning, customer focus, human resources, process management and operational results.

Burke told the board there were a few of the 13 goals that may be challenging to accomplish.

Those two goals include the district increasing the percentage of students scoring in levels three through five on FCAT reading by 2.2 percentage points, along with the district increasing the percentage of students scoring in levels three through five on FCAT science by 4.2 percentage points.

Those goals may be hard to accomplish due to the state board voting on possible changes to the cut scores on all of the FCAT results for reading and math in December. The statewide percentages of students who will score a three, four or five on their FCAT are anticipated to decline due to the change in the equation to the test results.

“In some cases it is going to be pretty significant,” Burke said.

The third grade level test results have been around 74 percent for those who score between a three and five, he said, which is likely to drop to 56 percent across the board with the new cut scores.

“We are going to have to figure out a way to communicate the numbers are going to look like they are less and it is going to be an unfair conclusion,” Burke said.

He said the 10th grade students might cut a little break in reading, but not in math due to adjustments that were made.

Burke told the board that the 8th grade reading score was the anchor item for those who were doing the analysis of the FCAT numbers. He said the standards for the 8th grade reading compared to other states were the second highest in the country.

Due to that comparison, the state board is considering using the 8th grade anchor and anything below the 8th grade will move their standards higher to have growth from grade level to grade level.

Burke said grade 8 will be used as the benchmark. He said 3rd grade and 7th grade had to come up a lot and 4th, 5th and 6th had to be adjusted up a little bit.

Burke said according to predictions state wide, the percentage of students scoring at levels three, four or five is going to be between 54-58 percent of the students, which includes 40 percent of the students not passing.

“I am predicting that we will do a little better because historically we have,” he said. “It is going to be a very different picture than what it has been.”

Burke said they cannot create an environment in the schools where the teachers become discouraged.

“The teachers have to keep plugging away and create more learning in the classroom at the school level,” he said.