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Press Release

Monday, December 19, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida State Board of Education Approves New FCAT 2.0 Reading and Mathematics Scores

Tallahassee - For the first time in 10 years, the Florida State Board of Education today approved new achievement level scores for grades 3-10 in reading and grades 3-8 mathematics on the annual FCAT 2.0 assessments. Since Florida began administering the FCAT in 1998, data from reading and math has been used to gauge student achievement and to identify policy changes needed to link learning to best practices. These new achievement scores improve the movement that has kept Florida on the forefront of learning and achievement for more than a decade and will better prepare Florida students for college or a job after high school.

"A good education and the ability to get a job are inextricably linked, and as a student whose family lived in public housing and struggled financially, I know how important both of those things are," said Governor Rick Scott. "I commend the Board of Education for approving these standards today. This is a positive step toward making Florida's education system the best in the country."

For four months, Florida educators, higher education, business and community leaders, in partnership with the Florida Department of Education (DOE), participated in an achievement-level-creation process known as "setting cut scores." This process requires the Florida State Board of Education to establish mathematics achievement level scores for grades 3-8, including an End-Of-Course (EOC) Algebra 1 assessment, and reading achievement level scores in grades 3-10, which includes a passing score for high school graduation. FCAT 2.0 achievement scores provide a framework of expectations for reporting how much our students learn in each grade level to teachers, parents and other stakeholders.

"On behalf of the State Board of Education I would like to thank Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson and his leadership, both with his DOE team as well as with the many important external participants, which ensured meaningful stakeholder participation in the decision making process," said State Board of Education Chair Kathleen Shanahan. "Our goal as a board is to ensure the students in Florida's education process have every chance to succeed in our global economy."

The achievements approved today include the following criteria for preparing public high school students for college or a career:

  • Grade 10 reading score of 245 in Level 3 satisfies the reading assessment standard for high school graduation.
  • Grade 10 reading score of 262 in Level 4, and maintaining a "B" average, allows a student to enroll in dual enrollment credit-bearing courses with credit for those college courses in the subject area, bypass the P.E.R.T. test, and enroll in a Florida College System institution without taking a remediation course in reading.
  • The Algebra I End-Of-Course assessment includes two important scores: Level 3 as passing and Level 4 as high achieving and potential to be college ready by the time of high school graduation.

"I support the new cut scores because they aim high, and are designed to prepare our students to be ready to live and work in a competitive world," said State Board of Education Vice-Chair Bobby Martinez. "Our decision reflects what we want for our students and is solidly grounded on the extensive work of a lengthy and transparent process informed by educators familiar with students' abilities and the content assessed and with the professional input of key stakeholder groups."

"In order to continue moving Florida in a direction to better prepare our students for successful participation in a competitive learning-and-earning society, we must remain diligent in setting good standards," said Department of Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. "Today's action keeps Florida students on a path to be globally competitive."