Less than 30 percent of fourth graders in Florida passed the FCAT writing test this year, according to preliminary results released on Monday, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times today.
That's a steep dip compared to last year when 81 percent scored a passing 4.0 or better.
The plummeting scores have prompted extreme concern among educators and state officials. On Monday, Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson proposed reducing the FCAT writing passing score from 4.0 to 3.5. Under that standard, 48 percent of fourth-graders would have passed the test with a 3.5 or better, along with 52 percent of eighth-graders and 60 percent of 10th-graders, according to the Times story.
Florida education officials held an emergency conference call Tuesday morning at 10:30am regarding the scores. The public was invited to listen.
This year's test was more rigorous including more reductions given for misspellings and more stringent grading on punctuation and grammar.
Some say that may have contributed to the lower scores. Others, however, maintain the tougher evaluation is needed to prepare for Florida joining the coalition of states moving toward more rigorous standards, the Times reported.