The Florida Board of Education has called an emergency conference call session for Tuesday morning to talk about how to handle a huge decline in the percentage of students scoring a passing mark on the FCAT writing exam.
Preliminary data released today shows that just 27 percent of fourth graders scored a Level 4 or higher on the test, compared to 81 percent in 2011. The numbers were 33 percent of eighth graders this year, compared to 82 percent last year; and 38 percent of tenth graders compared to 80 percent.
The primary drivers of this steep drop are tougher scoring standards combined with a return to two graders for each test, rather than just one. As a budget-cutting move, the state decided to have just one person score each FCAT writing test in 2011, eliminating half scores such as 3.5 that had existed in the past.
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