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Lee Schools respond to lowering FCAT standards

Lee Schools respond to lowering FCAT standards

By Fox 4 News Staff. CREATED May 15, 2012

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The figures are startling.  The state FCAT writing test results are down by 60 percent as compared to last year. 

That's why the state board of education lowered the passing grade from 4.0 to 3.0. 

The Lee County School District superintendent today had some words about the state's action. 

"This is not about our teachers not teaching, it's not about that, it's also not about students not learning, this is about, we had a new standard that was applied." Dr. Burke said.

The increase in the student failure rate according to the state was because the test was made more difficult and the scoring criteria changed. 

But the director of the Center for Fair and Open Testing says the state lowered the passing grade to save face.  “It was a political quick fix, designed to reduce the amount of public protest by declaring retroactively more students did okay on the test."

Dr. Burke says students took the writing FCAT in March.  But the school districts statewide weren't aware of the test changes to punctuation, sentence structure and spelling.  

"This was about the system not preparing appropriately to communicate what the students needed to have to perform effectively on this test." Dr. Burke said.

The Center For Fair and Open Testing is calling for an open independent investigation into the 60 percent drop in FCAT writing scores. 

"To find out why the test scores went down, what it cost and what it means."

In the end, is it the students getting hurt as a result of new FCAT testing standards? 

We asked that question to Dr. Burke.  “We collectively as educators have to do a better job with this in the future."