Statement on Florida Department of Education’s Release of FCAT Results
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Tallahassee, FL – Today, Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, released the following statement about the results of the third grade FCAT 2.0.
“Reading is fundamental to learning. If a child does not gain basic reading skills by the end of third grade, studies show he or she will struggle throughout the rest of their education experience. This year’s test is harder, and the expectations of achievement are higher in order to ensure every student is gaining the foundational knowledge they need to be successful at each grade level.”
“Since 2002, Florida has placed a command focus on reading, while also recognizing that one test on one day should not be the sole determining factor for retention. Students scoring a Level 1 on the third grade reading FCAT have other alternatives to demonstrate literacy, including a portfolio from their teacher and other assessments. Interventions and extra assistance are also provided to struggling readers in the form of a customized learning plan that could include an extra hour during the school day, summer reading camps and professional development for their teacher.”
“This year, the Legislature and Governor Rick Scott invested an additional $1 billion in public education, with much of it directed at Florida’s proven reading programs and services.”
The Foundation for Florida’s Future applauds the Board and the state’s district Superintendents for their decision to raise academic standards last summer. Florida’s economic success and the future of today’s students are dependent on how well we prepare them for success after high school. Florida is one of 45 other states implementing a common set of world-class standards by 2014-2015. This year, Florida is taking the first step by incrementally raising standards now to better prepare students for the higher expectations coming in three years.
Raising standards and measuring students’ progress toward achieving those standards is critical to a quality education system. Tests help teachers, parents and school leaders know which students are struggling so they can provide immediate support and assistance to these students. Year after year, standards, and the assessments that measure student progress in achieving those standards, and the teachers who teach the standards, have helped Florida schools improve. They are tools to ensure that our children are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. We must prepare Florida’s children to be competitors in their local community, in the state, in the nation and in the global economy, and Florida’s teachers, through our new standards and assessments, can and will make that happen. *****
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