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Florida’s High School Students Near Bottom in College Readiness; Flagler’s Do Worse

| August 19, 2010

act scores overall chart florida scores 2010 national averages fpc matanzas

Once out of its cocoon, Florida doesn't fare so well nationally. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County school district may have scored an overall A for the third year in a row when measured by the state’s self-contained Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which has no relationship with national standards. When it comes to college readiness, neither Flagler nor Florida have much to be proud of.

Florida’s high school students rank third from the bottom in overall college preparedness as measured by the latest ACT results, one of the more rigorous and standard national measures of academic achievement.

The average ACT score for the 119,000 Floridians who took the test in 2010 is 19.5. Only Kentucky and Mississippi students fared worse. Kentucky’s average 19.4. Mississippi’s averaged 18.8. The national average is 21, though that average is exceeded by 32 states. Most Southern states rank near the bottom. The top 10 are all Northeastern states with the exception of Washington and Minnesota. Massachusetts is at the top, with an average overall score of 24.

While the national ACT trend has held relatively steady since 2006, fluctuating between an overall average of 21 and 21.2, the trend in Florida is decidedly downward. Florida’s graduates had an average score of 20.3 in 2006. The average has fallen every successive year until it steadied this year at 19.5, where it was last year. The scores, combined with Florida’s drop-out rate, which leads the nation, and the low quality of its public higher education system relative to the rest of the country, paint a dismal picture of the state’s commitment to education. Financially, the Florida Legislature and is among the stingiest

Here’s the story in charts:

matanzas fpc atc

act florida scores national 2010 charts

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10 Responses for “Florida’s High School Students Near Bottom in College Readiness; Flagler’s Do Worse”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    As educators, we often shoot ourselves in the foot. I have no idea what these test scores indicate other than on a national scale, they are low. I do not know of the 119,000 students who took the ACT in the state how many came from Flagler, what grades were they from, do they plan to go to college? The ACT is used to tell us something about how well they will do in college. How do you relate this score to the FCAT? You can’t there is no relationship. So basicall here is the situation, no one knows what these scores mean for an entire school system. Why do we release them; because we are educators. What the public should demand is that someone tells them what they mean.

  2. Jenn Kuiper says:

    Perhaps our ACT scores are plummeting because every year we have more and more lower level students taking the ACT as a way to “pass” the FCAT. Many of these kids are not planning on attending college. This should be widely known and taken into consideration. Many students fail the FCAT over and over but then take the ACT and score high enough to fulfill the FCAT requirement.

  3. Judy V says:

    I am so happy to hear from you two. When this article was pointed out to me, I thought this is not a true reflection of anything. Not all students take the ACT and as Jenn pointed many do that are not going to college. My son actually took the ACT and scored slightly higher than the state average. He also had average SAT scores. He is a Dean’s List student at the University of North Florida. He did not take any remedial courses. He will graduate with a degree in Political Science and History in December. He does not do well on standardized tests. So what!!!!

    I didn’t know that the ACT could fulfill your FCAT requirement. Interesting.

    FCAT grades are another thorn in my side. I have three children in college – no college ever asked for their school’s FCAT grade.

    As a member of the public, I demand to know what all this means.

  4. Silent says:

    Good responses about the real value of the ACT scores. The article should have pointed this out.

  5. BW says:

    I’m not buying into this being an OMG-thing for education (yes, I used a text messaging acronym and am now going to beat myself). First of all, the question is how students actually take the ACT compared to total number of students? The SAT would obviously be a better measure of things in my opinion.

    Our schools are doing a great job.

  6. Jim Guines says:

    It is important to know that students who cannot pass the FCAT, by the state guidelines can pass the ACT and get their high school diploma. Here again the state requirements are forcing a complete misuse of a standardized test. I still say educators sometimes shoot themselves in the foot!!

  7. Alex says:

    It is very interesting the way educators explain bad test results.

  8. Judy V says:

    Alex, what does this particular result mean to you? I’m not an educator, I’m a parent. To me, this is useless information and likely a waste of the taxpayer money that went into getting it.

  9. Liana G says:

    I agree that parents should have these results explained to them especially since they affect school funding that is tied to the ‘No child left behind’ act, hence the problems with schools nationwide fudging these tests scores in order to ensure funding – Georgia , Michigan, Texas are some that were recently caught doing this. Also FCAT scores determine whether a student will be pulaced in either regular or advance classes. One of my children scored a 3 on the FCAT science in 5th grade, but received an “A ” in science the entire 6th grade year. This year she will be in 7th grade where there are advanced science classes but she was placed in regular science because of the 3 she scored on the 5th grade science FCAT. I also tried to get a more detailed answer on the dismal 6th grade FCAT scores the district received this year butl I was given a blase response that did not add up. I’m sure I can get it through the ‘Freedom of Informaction Act’ which I’m debating whether to do.

  10. Gayle Ford says:

    ACT Testing is very different than SAT and if you take the SAT you will find your scores are much better than the ACT ~Teaching today is more to the SAT, Students can prepare for both. My son as well took the SAT scored in the high 1280’s he scored a 23 on the ACT not terrific most colleges IVY Schools want to see 25 or better. But FCATs and all state level testing is for the county and state to see that our children are learning equivalent to other states. As one parent said some students do not test well, some will not go to college, some have had no preparation to take a 3 hour test. These test should be practiced, it takes the scary part away. Our teachers are doing a good job, as long as they continue to go to training and improvement classes and as long as we keep encouraging our children to do the best they can. We Will be fine! But I can not stress how important is it to introduce these test to our children early.
    They give PSAT’s to kids in 7th grade up North, again in 9th and again in 10th no value just practice!

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