The passing rate on the new Florida Standards Assessments are likely to drop sharply, but the real issue is reading comprehension — with the new and much harder text.
Consider this quote from an A.E. Casey report — “Early Warning! Why Read By The End of Third Grade Matters”
“Up to half of the fourth grade curriculum will be incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. Three quarters of the readers who are poor readers in third grade will still be poor readers in 12th grade, according to research done at Yale University.
Are the new tests likely to be harder — absolutely according to many
New Florida Standards Demand More From Parents is an excellent article that conveys reality — the new Florida Standards Assessments (i.e the FCAT Replacement Test) contain longer and more complex passages, the test is longer and the questions require far more advanced critical thinking skills.
The quote from above is from a Superintendent of Schools and the bolded section is from the article.
“It’s going to shock parents,” said Santa Rosa County Schools Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. “We started (implementing some of the new standards) last year, and I got some calls from moms and dads saying they couldn’t do the work and wondering how we can expect their child to do the work if they couldn’t.”
Teachers and administrators have been making themselves familiar with the new standards — which focus on critical thinking skills as well as synthesis and analysis of knowledge — over the past year. But the assessment tests that accompany the standards still are an unknown.
While I have heard Florida Commissioner of Education say she expected score to either stay the same or drop a few points with the new Florida Standards Assessments, the two states that have already implemented the new testing have seen sharp drops in passing rates:
– New York’s reading proficiency rate dropped from 55% to 31% and stayed constant the second year at 31%
– Utah, which is the test similar to what Florida will use, saw their reading proficiency rate drop from 78% to 42%
Florida makes a good case that they raised the standards in 2011, but so did New York .
As a parent, you may be hearing mixed messages.
1- That Florida already has higher standards than others and the changes are not that big — then why are we seeing reading comprehension levels that are 2 and 3 years below grade level in 3rd and 4th grade — something that is new with the new standards
2- That your child is reading on grade level — true — reading fluency levels have not dropped significantly — that is because fluency measures how well a student reads out loud. Reading comprehension scores are much lower.
3- Just wait, it might not be as bad as people think
Not everyone should be alarmed – a relatively small percentage of students are reading at or above grade level,
If your child is struggling with reading, you want to find out how far behind your child is and act accordingly
If your child is just behind, it may take a modest amount of work
If your child is years behind, the time to act is now
For more information go to
– Success by Third Grade for students in 3rd grade or below