Monday, July 19, 2010

Duval, other school districts challenge FCAT results

Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals and leaders of four of the state’s largest school districts Monday called for an investigation into “significant anomalies” with declines on Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test reading scores.

This year, 82 Duval public schools showed a drop in the percentage of students reading at grade level or above. Last year, 65 schools showed drops in the same area.

But the biggest local concern is with decreases in learning gains for fourth- and fifth-graders, and the district’s most struggling students.

In Duval, the number of fourth-graders reading at least at grade level dropped 4 percentage points; fifth-graders saw a 2 percentage point decline. The statewide trend was similar.

The stakes are high because the state uses learning gains to help determine school grades. Those school grades then help determine if students in a failing school should be allowed to transfer to a higher-performing school.

In a district’s lowest-performing schools, reading and math teachers could lose their positions unless at least 65 percent of their students show learning gains over three years.

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