Archive for May 19, 2008

Almost 27,000 Florida Seniors May Not Earn Diploma

As many as 26,997 Florida seniors may not earn a diploma this year because they failed their final chance before graduation at passing sophomore-level reading and math tests.

On the reading FCAT, 84 percent failed. Students did somewhat better on math. On that test, 68 percent failed.

Palm Beach County students fared worse than the state average. Here, 87 percent of seniors retaking the reading test failed it. On math, 71 percent failed.

That could mean as many as 1,770 of the county’s 11,250 seniors won’t earn a regular high school diploma.

Among county schools, Spanish River High had the best reading performance. Fifty-six percent of students failed the test compared with Glades Central High, where 95 percent failed it.

Students generally fare better on the math test. At Boca Raton High School, only 31 percent of seniors failed the math test.

Retake scores among 12th graders are typically dismal. These are generally students who have had as many as six shots at passing the 10th grade reading and math tests before graduation. By their sixth chance, many do not have the academic ability or English skills to pass the test.

High schools principals celebrate despite what appears to be a low success rate on the retake tests. Even 10 percent passing may mean a few more students who can walk across the stage and accept a diploma.

At Olympic Heights High, 11 more students will have a chance at graduating because they passed the math test. Some of those students could still end up without a diploma if they haven’t passed the reading FCAT.

Students must pass both math and reading tests to graduate.

Drop Back In, a new program that targets students who have already dropped out and brings them back to school, earned its first scores this year.

Among the 70 who took the reading test, 12 passed it. Of the 15 who took the math test, one passed.

Students who earn enough credits to graduate, but haven’t passed the tests receive a certificate of completion. But they can take the FCAT again in June and as many times as they want after. Or they may return for a 13th year of school and continue retaking the test to try to earn their diploma.

The score needed to graduate on both tests is actually below grade-level work for sophomores.

There are two other outs for students who have failed the FCAT three times or more. If they score a 410 on the verbal section of the SAT and 370 on the math section of the college placement test, they are exempt. On the ACT, they need a 15 on both sections.

Source: Palm Beach Post

Our school had some (reading) FCAT failures among the seniors. About half of the kids (at our school) that did not pass were mainstreamed special education. Many of the rest that did not pass had suspected learning disabilities (based on their low reading scores) but for whatever reason, the parent(s) had never consented to testing, possibly to avoid the “learning disabled” stigma.

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Two Jacksonville High Schools in Newsweek’s Top 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For the fifth time in five years, two Duval County schools are ranked in the top 10 of public high schools in America, according to an annual survey by Newsweek magazine.

Stanton College Prep was ranked fifth on the magazine’s list of the nation’s 1,300 best schools in 2008, with Paxon School for Advanced Studies capturing the eighth spot.

Eighteen Florida schools were ranked in the magazine’s top 100, based on the number of advanced placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at the school in 2007 divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Read the rest at

While our small rural county didn’t have any schools making the top 10 list, congratulations to Jacksonville!

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