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PRESS RELEASE

Monday, May 5, 2003

Frances Marine
Press Secretary
(850) 201-7130

Governor Jeb Bush Announces Early FCAT Results:
Performance Continues to Rise
Education Commissioner Jim Horne Outlines Options for Students Who Did Not Pass

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush announced today more third grade students than ever before (63 percent) received passing scores on the FCAT. The announcement included early results for third graders and preliminary results for 12th grade students. It showed 23 percent of third graders scored at Level 1 and more than 13,000 12th graders did not meet the required score for a standard high school diploma. Education Commissioner Jim Horne outlined the options available to those third graders who scored at Level 1 and those 12th graders who did not pass the FCAT.

"We continue to see real progress, but the number of students scoring at Level 1 shows we still have much work to do. With the end of social promotion, we have an unprecedented opportunity to provide students with the time and tools they need to be successful in the classroom. Through a concerted effort this summer among parents, teachers and educators statewide, I am confident a significant number of students who scored at Level 1 will build the skills they need to move to the 4th grade," said Governor Bush.

The percentage of third graders scoring at or above Level 3 in reading rose to 63 percent this year, up from 60 percent last year and 57 percent the previous year. Meanwhile, the percentage of third graders scoring at Level 1 in reading dropped to 23 percent from 27 percent in 2002 and 29 percent since 2001. In mathematics, the percentage of third graders scoring at or above Level 3 rose to 63 percent, up from 59 percent last year and 52 percent the previous year. The percentage of third graders scoring at Level 1 in mathematics dropped to 19 percent this year, down from 21 percent in 2002 and 24 percent in 2001.

"When we announced the end of social promotion in Florida's schools, we made a commitment to provide FCAT scores as soon as possible," said Education Commissioner Jim Horne. "These preliminary results clearly indicate rising student achievement, and we are focused on helping those who still are not performing at grade level. Our Read-to-Learn program will be instrumental in making sure all Florida's students have the opportunity to succeed."

Not all third graders who scored Level 1 on the FCAT will be retained. Some 1,940 third graders who scored Level 1 on the FCAT have already passed the Stanford 9 and will be promoted. Moreover, third graders may be promoted if they:

  • Were previously retained, twice;

  • Are ESE students who were previously retained;

  • Pass the Stanford 9 after summer reading assistance; or

  • Pass by completing a portfolio.

While statewide numbers for 12th graders are still being calculated, there are 13,784 students who did not pass one or both parts of the FCAT. However, records indicate as many as 40 percent of those students may not have the grades or the courses needed to graduate. Moreover, some 12th graders may qualify for an exemption if they are ESE students.

Horne said the new social promotion rules made getting the results to the schools as quickly as possible his top priority this year. "Today's announcement was a promise kept to students, parents, teachers and school districts," he said. "It was important to me that we get results out as soon as we could so that students who did not succeed on FCAT will have ample time to consider their options for assistance."

The options available to third graders who were not successful on the FCAT include:

  • Summer Reading Camps. These reading camps will consist of six to eight weeks of intensive targeted-specific remedial reading instruction. The camp will include 5 ½ hours of instructional time per day, for four days a week. This is equivalent to two regular school days of reading instruction.

  • Reading Mentors. These mentors will work in coordination with the summer reading camps to give participating students another opportunity to improve their reading ability.

  • Families Building Better Readers Workshops. These workshops are designed to educate parents on simple ways to help improve their child's literacy. The sessions will also highlight strategies and methods to help their children through the remedial process.

    For those 12th graders who did not pass the FCAT, there are numerous options, including:

  • FCAT Remediation. For those students who completed all requirements for a high school diploma, but did not pass the FCAT, Adult Education programs provide FCAT fast track remediation classes.

  • GED Preparation. Those students who completed all requirements for a high school diploma, but did not pass the FCAT, may participate in an adult education program designed to fast track students into an accelerated GED prep and allow them to obtain their State of Florida High School Diploma.

  • 12th Grade Options Hotline and Website. Students may call the Florida Department of Education's toll free line at 1-800-315-0833 to obtain individualized help planning their next step. Within the coming weeks, the Department will also launch a website to assist 12th graders who did not pass the FCAT.

  • Technical/Vocational Training. Students will also be counseled about high demand occupational training programs in which they can enroll while pursing their high school diploma.

  • Community College Acceptance. Once students earn their GED or high school diploma, they will be accepted into AS, AAS and AA Degree programs.

School districts received district and school averages and individual student results. Commissioner Horne has asked Superintendents to work with Principals to ensure students receive their results as soon as possible.

As statewide results become available, they will be posted on the Department of Education's website at http://fcat.fldoe.org.