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91% of Flagler High School Seniors Clear FCAT Graduation Hurdle; Most Others Fail Re-Takes

| May 20, 2010

Source: Florida Department of Education, Flagler County School Board; the Flagler category includes both high schools, Pathways and Heritage Academy / © FlaglerLive Graphic

At least 53 high school seniors in Flagler County found out on Wednesday that they will not get their graduation diplomas late this month, no matter how well they did in class the entire year. The reason: they failed one or both the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for reading and math.

They don’t call the FCAT high-stakes for nothing. To graduate high school, students must pass the FCAT reading and math test with a minimum grade of 3 (out of 5). If they do so on their 10th grade reading and math tests, they’re cleared for graduation, at least as far as the state’s standardized testing demands are concerned. If they get less than a 3 in 10th grade, they get two more chances while in high school: in 11th grade and in 12th grade.

By 10th grade, the success rate in Flagler schools is overwhelmingly high: 91 percent of the senior class this year, for example, cleared the test. But for those who failed to get a 3 or better in 10th grade, the failure rate remains high in 11th and 12th grade.

The Florida Department of Education released the re-take results for the 12th and 11th grade across the state, which students took in March. In Flagler’s schools, 74 seniors re-took the reading test and 63 failed, or 85 percent. The rate is just below the 16 percent success rate across the state, and 17 percent in Volusia schools (where 495 seniors failed the reading re-do).

In math, 28 students re-took the test and five passed. The 18 percent success rate is well below the statewide 28 percent rate and Volusia’s 25 percent rate. The numbers are also a decline from last year’s senior re-takes, when 26 seniors out of 86 passed their re-do, a 30 percent success rate.

Those numbers can be meaningless by themselves, especially in light of the overall success rate of seniors: If more students do well their first time out, by 10th grade, then fewer are left having to take the re-do.

“Our overall pass rates to begin with are so high, that by the time we get to the re-takes, the number aren’t as good,” Flagler Superintendent Bill Delbrugge said. “That’s one of the reasons our re-takes struggle—we’ve done so well the first time through.” Nevertheless, he said, “even if we have one student that fails, it’s a concern for us.”

Eleventh graders also are afforded a re-take opportunity. Of the 261 students who took the reading test again, 57 passed, or 22 percent. Of the 124 students who took the math test again, 56 passed, or 45 percent. Excluding students at Pathways (the alternative school) and Heritage Academy (the charter school), the pass rate rises to 46 percent for Flagler Palm Coast High School and Matanzas High School.

Students who have failed either the reading or math portions of the FCAT in 12th grade still have options. Acording to the Department of Education, students can continue to take the FCAT until they pass it, take the SAT or ACT to earn concordant passing scores, earn a General Education Diploma (GED), or enroll in any community college in the state with a Certificate of Completion by taking the Florida College Entrance-Level Placement Test (FCELPT, but commonly referred to as CPT). “Students who enter a community college with a Certificate of Completion may continue to retake the FCAT or take the SAT or ACT to earn the passing scores required for a high school diploma,” the department says in its frequently asked questions page.

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1 Response for “91% of Flagler High School Seniors Clear FCAT Graduation Hurdle; Most Others Fail Re-Takes”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    The greater joke is that the state is moving toward higher requrements in high schools, more math and end of courses exams which must be passed to pass. It is not clear what the role of the FCAT test will be in this new set of requirement. This is all very confusing and seems a little like over-kill.

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