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PRESS RELEASE

May 02, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Commissioner Blomberg Announces 2007 FCAT Scores For Third and 12th Grade

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg today announced the third and 12th grade results for the mathematics and reading portions of the 2007 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Florida’s third graders made academic gains in mathematics, with 74 percent of students demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level, a two percentage-point gain over the previous year. This improvement shows a long-term mathematics skills gain of 22 percentage points since 2001.

“Florida’s third graders continue to achieve at higher levels in mathematics, and I congratulate them for building a strong foundation for their own future math learning. I applaud the teachers and schools for their hard work in this area,” Commissioner Blomberg said. “The test results announced today make up only one set of data, so it is too soon to make a determination concerning the academic performance of our schools and our students. I am grateful that Governor Crist has recommended funding for reading coaches and virtual tutors, which will help Florida’s students develop the skills needed for learning and academic success.”

Florida has also experienced long-term reading progress. Since 2001, the percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level has grown 12 percentage points. However, the percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level this year declined from 75 percent in 2006 to 69 percent this year.

“We are encouraged that the percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level this year was higher than in 2005. Further, we are pleased to see that when you compare student performance from 2001 to today, Florida is maintaining a positive trend upward,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “When data are tracked over time, some fluctuation in performance from year to year is expected. Nothing has changed in the test, and an analysis of test results from 2004 through 2007 has demonstrated the scores of last year’s third graders were unusually high.”

Long-Term Improvement in Third-Grade Mathematics and Reading

The FCAT was first administered to third graders in 2001 and the results from that initial administration continue to serve as the benchmark for long-term measurement of third-grade academic progression.

Mathematics

This year, the percentage of third graders demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level rose two percentage points as compared to last year. As the table indicates below, this improvement shows a steady long-term gain of 22 percentage points in mathematics skills since 2001.

Yearly progress of Florida third graders demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level since 2001 is as follows:

Year Percentage at or above grade level
2001 52%
2002 59%
2003 63%
2004 64%
2005 68%
2006 72%
2007 74%

Reading

As indicated in the table below, the percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level is 12 percentage points higher than it was in 2001.

Yearly progress of Florida third graders reading at or above grade level since 2001 is as follows:

Year Percentage at or above grade level
2001 57%
2002 60%
2003 63%
2004 66%
2005 67%
2006 75%
2007 69%

“We remain firm in our commitment to providing continuing support for reading instruction in Florida schools through programs like summer reading camps, reading mentors, and principal and teacher training on the latest reading research,” added Commissioner Blomberg. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature, we can continue and increase this level of support. The proposed budget, which will be voted on by legislators later this week, includes $10.7 million increase in funding for reading programs.”

The FCAT is not the sole factor for determining a child’s promotion to fourth grade. Parents of third graders in need of additional remediation may learn more at www.justreadflorida.com. The options available to help third graders achieve their goals include:

  • Summer Reading Camps – Reading camps consist of six to eight weeks of intensive, remedial reading instruction.
  • Reading Mentors – Mentors work in coordination with the summer reading camps to give participating students additional opportunities to improve their reading ability.
  • Families Building Better Readers Workshops – The workshops provide parents simple ways to improve their child's literacy. The sessions also highlight strategies and methods to help their children through the remedial process.

Continued National Improvements in Third-Grade Mathematics and Reading

Each year, a portion of the FCAT includes a nationally published test, known as the norm-referenced test (NRT), which is used to measure how Florida students are performing compared to students nationally. The Stanford 10 is the national norm-referenced test used in Florida and serves as an external validation of learning trends on the FCAT and compares Florida achievement to a national sample of students.

In 2007, Florida’s:

  • Mathematics national percentile rank increased from the 67th percentile to the 69th. This means that the average Florida third grader scored better than 69 percent of the national comparison sample.
  • Reading national percentile rank increased from the 61st percentile to the 62nd. This means that the average Florida third grader scored better than 62 percent of the national comparison sample.

12th-Grade Mathematics and Reading Scores

Similar to last year’s 12th grade achievement, approximately eight percent of 2006-2007 high school seniors did not pass the tenth grade FCAT despite being on track to meet the GPA and credit requirements for graduation. While this performance trend has remained steady, education reforms implemented in the last decade are expected to have a positive impact on future graduating classes. Additionally, legislation passed last year that created new middle and high school reform measures will likely enhance these positive impacts even further.

High school seniors and their parents who want to learn more about their options should visit www.FACTS.org. This Web site serves as Florida's one-stop student advising system and can help high school students understand their options during and after high school. Students can get all their information in one place, including information on admission to a four-year college, a two-year degree program at a community college, attending a career technical center, registering for military service or entering the workforce. FACTS.org provides access to complete transcripts and academic counseling online at no cost to students. Options to help students achieve their goals include:

  • Reading and Mathematics Intervention – Schools offer many opportunities for students to participate in intensive intervention programs to help them improve their skills and pass the FCAT, including before and after school programs, summer school, tutoring, intensive reading or mathematics classes and computer assisted instruction. Many students take advantage of these opportunities and retake the FCAT in June.
  • Common Placement Test (CPT) – Eligible Certificate of Completion – Students who meet all requirements for a standard high school diploma except earning passing scores on the tenth-grade FCAT are eligible to receive the CPT-Eligible Certificate of Completion. Students who choose this option may enroll directly in one of Florida’s 28 community colleges.
  • General Educational Development Credential (GED) Preparation/Exit Option – Students who did not earn passing scores on the tenth-grade FCAT may choose to participate in an adult education program and prepare to take the GED. Students who pass the GED will earn a State of Florida high school diploma.
  • Career Technical 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, CPT-Eligible Certificate of Completion or high school diploma, they are eligible to enroll at a Florida public community college.

FCAT Parent Network

Parents can view their child's FCAT reading and mathematics scores on the Internet by logging on to the FCAT Parent Network at www.fcatparentnetwork.com using the log-in and password provided by their school. This secure site features detailed information on the meaning of the scores and provides resources to improve student performance in the future. Scores for third-grade students and students re-taking the test will be posted to the Web site on Friday, May 4, 2007.

The Florida Department of Education continues to take steps toward increasing the transparency of the FCAT. Hundreds of printed and online resources related to the FCAT have been available for several years, including annual releases of sample questions and full-length tests. The full-length FCAT reading and mathematics tests were previously taken by students and include answer keys and the identification of the Sunshine State Standards being assessed. In the fall of 2007, new tests will be released for grades 5, 6, and 10 Reading and Mathematics, and grade 8 Science. This action will provide a released FCAT Reading and Mathematics test for every grade level assessed, including three versions of the grade 10 tests.

To view school, district and state FCAT reports, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/.