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PRESS RELEASE

Friday, May 2, 2003

Frances Marine
Press Secretary
(850) 201-7130

Education Commissioner Horne Announces Results of FCAT Writing
Nearly Ninety Percent of Students Attain a Score of 3.0 or Higher

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced the results of the writing portion of the 2003 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for students in grades 4, 8, and 10. Performance in writing increased to historic highs, with nearly ninety percent of students attaining a score of 3.0 or higher.

"Student performance in Florida continues to improve," said Governor Jeb Bush. "Florida's hard-working teachers have helped our students improve dramatically in writing. Almost all - nearly ninety percent - of our 4th, 8th, and 10th graders scored at or above 3.0, demonstrating that accountability works."

"I am extremely pleased to see that Florida's children continue to make significant improvements in writing," said Horne. "The latest scores demonstrate that we are moving in the right direction. Increased accountability has allowed our children to reach the highest level of performance, in terms of both average scores and percent of students scoring above 3.0, since we began testing writing ten years ago."

Nearly ninety percent of students attained a score of 3.0 or higher. The number of 4th and 8th graders scoring above 3.0 rose, while the number of 10th graders scoring above 3.0 dipped slightly.

  • 4th Grade - Percent of students scoring above 3.0 rose from 81% in 2002 to 90% in 2003, the highest level in state history and up from 66% in 1999.

  • 8th Grade - Percent of students scoring above 3.0 rose from 89% in 2002 to 91% in 2003, the highest level in state history and up from 82% in 1999.

  • 10th Grade - Percent of students scoring above 3.0 dipped slightly from 91% in 2002 to 88% in 2003, but remained at a high level and up from 83% in 1999.

Average FCAT Writing scores rose from 2002 levels for 4th and 8th graders and remained the same for 10th graders.

  • 4th Grade - Average score jumped from 3.4 in 2002 to 3.6 in 2003, the highest level in state history and up from 2.9 in 1999.

  • 8th Grade - Average score increased from 3.8 in 2002 to 3.9 in 2003, again the highest level in state history and up from 3.5 in 1999.

  • 10th Grade - Average score maintained at 3.8 in 2003, but up from 3.6 in 1999.

Printed reports, including individual student reports, school reports (list of student scores), district reports (list of school averages), and state reports (list of district averages) will be delivered to school districts today. Districts will also receive an electronic data file on writing results, the Guide to the 2003 Writing Results (examples of scores for parents), and Florida Writes! (examples of scores for teachers).

The following information will be available on the Department of Education website (http://fcat.fldoe.org).

  • Statewide FCAT Writing Average Scores for Grades 4, 8, and 10 (1993 - 2003);

  • Description of the 2003 FCAT Writing Prompts;

  • List of 2003 FCAT Writing Average Scores for Grades 4, 8, and 10 by District;

  • List of 2003 FCAT Writing Average Scores for Grades 4, 8, and 10 by School.