If You Fail Just Lower The Standard

test-pencil-240-g-3642457What a great example given to us by the Florida Board of Education if you fail to meet your standard, then just lower it!

The Board of Education decided in an emergency meeting Tuesday to lower the passing grade on the writing portion of Florida’s standardized test after preliminary results showed a drastic drop in student passing scores.

The results indicated only about a third of students would pass this year’s tougher Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test exam, compared with a passing rate of 80 percent or more last year.

“They’ve asked students to do more, but that’s pretty dramatic,” said Florida Education Association spokesman Mark Pudlow. “We need to examine what led to this, not just paper over the problem.”

The results provide another opening to critics of high-stakes testing. The statewide teachers union has opposed Florida’s use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers and grade schools.

“Our students must know how to read and write, and our education system must be able to measure and benchmark their progress so we can set clear education goals,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a statement Monday. “The significant contrast in this year’s writing scores is an obvious indication that the Department of Education needs to review the issue and recommend an action plan so that our schools, parents, teachers and students have a clear understanding of the results.”

Results on the FCAT are the major factor for determining grades the state uses to reward top schools and sanction those at the bottom of the spectrum.

I’m not a fan of standardized testing, but this is ridiculous.  Governor Scott wants the issue in the test to be reviewed, but not the results?  He said, “our students know how to read and write.”  While I’m sure that is mostly true from my experience working with youth for 20 years leads me to believe that writing ability has significantly decreased over the years.  The results may be more accurate than he would care to admit.

Regardless, they set up the test for accountability, they didn’t get the results they hoped for so instead they lower the threshold in order to make their stats look better.