JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Education released the results of the reading and writing sections of the FCAT.
State education officials decided to lower the passing standard from a 4.0 proficiency score to a 3.0 proficiency score after students' writing scores were significantly lower than last year.
The state had made the writing standards stricter this year. Tougher guidelines were used to grade the students' writing tests. Graders focused on sentence structure, punctuation, subject-verb agreement and correct usage among others. This was also the first year two graders were used for each essay.
The writing and reading portions of the FCAT grades will be combined with the math and science scores to factor each school's grade.
MORE: View a Sample of the 2012 FCAT Writing Test Prompts
On the FCAT writing test, 79% of 4th graders in Duval County passed with a 3.0 or higher. In 2011, that number was 70%. Statewide, 81% of 4th graders passed the writing test. That percentage was unchanged from last year.
In 8th grade, the percentage of passing grades decreased 1%. 78% of Duval 8th graders received a 3.0 or higher, while 79% received the same scores in 2011. Statewide, 77% of 8th graders scored proficiently on the writing portion. This figure is down 5% from 2011, which saw 82% of 8th graders score proficiently.
Tenth graders in Duval County saw an increase in proficient scores for the FCAT writing test. While only 84% of 10th graders in the state scored proficiently, 87% of Duval County 10th graders scored at the same level. This number is up from 2011, when 76% of Duval 10th graders scored proficiently.
MORE: FCAT Results Search by School and District
FCAT reading scores for the district were also up from 2011 to this year. Ninth grade reading scores increased from 43% in 2011 to 48% in 2012. The state also saw an increase from 48% to 52%.
Tenth grade reading scores increased for Duval County from 34% of students receiving a proficient score to 45% in 2012. Statewide, there was an 11% increase from 2011 to 2012. Statewide, 39% scored proficiently in 2011 and 50% in 2012.
"I am pleased with the results because in some cases our students were ahead of the state or gaining on the state in proficiency," said Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals in a release issued by the district.
The remaining FCAT scores will be released by the state next month.
The Florida Department of Education in late June or early July using FCAT scores and other school measurements, like the graduation rate , will give each school a grade. School districts are being warned to expect fewer schools earning an A and more not making the grade, Ds and Fs.
First Coast News