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PRESS RELEASE

December 20, 2002

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

Department of Education makes available $4.5 million to help with FCAT remediation for students with disabilities

Department of Education makes available $4.5 million to help with FCAT remediation for students with disabilities

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Education announced today that it was making available $4.5 million in additional funding to help school districts meet the instructional needs of disabled students in the 12th grade.

The additional funding is to be used by districts to help those disabled students who have not yet passed the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Students must meet minimum scores in reading and math on the 10th grade exam to be eligible to graduate with a standard diploma.

From 10th grade through senior year, high school students are given six opportunities to pass the FCAT exam before graduation. In addition, 12th graders will have another opportunity to meet the minimum scores in an exam given in June.

"Given that passing the FCAT is one of the requirements for graduation with a standard diploma, it is critical that school districts provide appropriate targeted assistance during the second semester to any 12th grader who needs it," said Education Secretary Jim Horne. "I want to assist every student who may need remediation. This additional funding will help ensure that districts are meeting the needs of all seniors, including those with disabilities."

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is part of Governor Jeb Bush's education reforms designed to improve teaching and learning through higher standards and accountability. The test provides an objective measurement of basic skills, and it allows parents and teachers to monitor each student's annual learning gains.

"Students throughout Florida are showing increased performance on math and reading, as measured by their performance on the FCAT exam," Horne said. "The reforms of Governor Bush's A+ Plan for Education are working. With a system of higher standards and accountability in place, students are now learning more and performing at higher levels."

Horne said the Governor and the Department of Education were committed to providing resources to ensure each student the greatest success on meeting all graduation requirements, including passing the FCAT exam. "This $4.5 million to help students with disabilities is another example of our commitment to leave no child behind," Horne said.

The $4.5 million is made available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To receive the additional funds, districts must submit to the Department of Education a plan of action for addressing the instructional needs of 12th graders with disabilities who still need to meet the FCAT requirement to graduate with a standard diploma in 2003. DOE has already provided each school district with an application for the funding.

The Department of Education also announced today the number of 12th graders who need to obtain minimum scores in either reading or math to earn a standard diploma in 2003. These seniors will have two more opportunities to meet those requirements, first when the FCAT is given in March and again in June. Many of these students have already passed one portion of the FCAT and only need to meet the minimum score on the other portion.

To graduate with a standard diploma, high school students must also have a 2.0 grade point average or better (based on a 4-point scale) and successfully complete 24 academic credits or complete an International Baccalaureate curriculum.

The number of current 12th grade students who still need to take and pass either the reading or the mathematics portion of the FCAT exam are shown below:

Number of Students Who Still Need to Pass FCAT
Grade Reading Math
12th 12,772 9,933

School districts are also currently receiving the final FCAT 2002 Demographic Reports. The Department has revised the school and district 2002 FCAT Demographic Reports to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act reporting requirements. The new format will facilitate the school-level reporting of testing data required in NCLB.

The 2002 Demographic Reports were based on the matched student records that were resolved via the school grading and appeals process. Therefore, the number of students included in these reports has changed slightly from the numbers reported in March for each grade and subject area. In addition, the Department has retrieved some student documents packed erroneously and scored them. These additions make no significant difference.

The new categories required by the No Child Left Behind Act but not previously found on FCAT demographic reports are as follows:

  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP) one year or less.
  • Migrant.
  • Free or Reduced Lunch.
  • Not Free or Reduced Lunch.
  • Total Exceptional Student Education (ESE) other than Gifted.
  • Not ESE plus Gifted.