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Governor's Press Release

May 15, 2003

Alia Faraj
Governor's Press Secretary
(850) 488-5394

Frances Marine
FDOE Press Secretary
(850) 201-7130

Click here to view the archive of the May 15 Governor's Press Conference on FCAT. You must have Real Player installed to view this webcast. Click here to get Real Player.

Governor Jeb Bush Announces Biggest Improvement Ever on FCAT
Parents may track student performance on new and improved individual student report

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush today announced that more students scored on grade level in 2003 than ever before on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The greatest improvements over last year were found in reading at the elementary grades. The Governor was joined at the press conference by Education Commissioner Jim Horne, who introduced a new, user-friendly student report that allows parents to track their child's individual progress.

“We have seen continued rising student achievement across the state, regardless of ethnic background. This year brings the biggest improvement yet in student performance,” said Governor Bush. “These results prove that our common sense approach to education reform through accountability works.”

From 1998 to 2003, FCAT reading scores have improved significantly for students in Florida. Minority students have made the most dramatic improvements. For example, this year 60 percent of all 4th graders met or surpassed the proficient level (scoring Level 3 and above) on the FCAT reading, up from 51 percent in 1998. Other 4th grade improvements included:

  • 41 percent of African American students scored at or above grade level in 2003 compared to 23 percent in 1998.
  • 51 percent of Hispanic students scored at or above grade level in 2003 compared to 38 percent in 1998.
  • 73 percent of white students scored at or above grade level in 2003 compared 65 percent in 1998.
At the same time, the percentage of 4th graders scoring below basic (Level 1) on the FCAT reading has dropped from 32 percent in 1998 to 25 percent this year. Other 4th grade decreases include:
  • 40 percent of African American students scored at level one, down from 58 percent in 1998.
  • 33 percent of Hispanic students scored at level one, down from 43 percent in 1998.
  • 15 percent of white students scored at level one, down from 18 percent in 1998.

“We are thrilled at the progress our students are making, but there is still work to be done. The FCAT has allowed us to identify those students who need additional help,” said Education Commissioner Horne. “The new student report will give parents a clear picture of the areas where their children need help.”

In addition to FCAT scores in reading and mathematics, parents will receive FCAT scores in science. This is the first year the FCAT in science was administered. Score reports will show how students performed in comparison to other students. The Department of Education will use the scores to determine achievement levels later this year.

For complete 2003 FCAT results, please visit: fcat.fldoe.org.