Many parents were delighted to hear that the FCAT Reading Test was no longer going to be given. A group of 3rd Grade moms were discussing that 3rd Grade Retention would not be such an issue now that the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT was not going to be given anymore.
A 7th grade mom, whose son was getting As and Bs, commented that he may no longer have to take Remedial Reading now that the FCAT Reading Test would no longer be given.
The truth is that the 3rd grade Reading FCAT Replacement Test, known as the 3rd Grade Reading Florida Assessment will be much harder than the old 3rd Grade FCAT Reading Test.
We are estimating that the percent of students falling below grade level will increase from 42% to 65 to 70%. The percent of 3rd Graders who may face 3rd Grade Retention will increase from 19% to 25 to 30%.
We expected parents to start hitting the panic button in October when the new Benchmark Test Results are given out, but many savvy parents are already hitting the panic button. Math assignments are much harder and the reading passages their child must read are a grade or two above what students were reading last year.
This is not a conspiracy, but it is the truth.
In 2011, 72% percent of Florida students were at or above grade level on the FCAT, even though their comprehension was not on grade level. Then, Florida introduced tougher scoring, and in 2014, the passing rate had declined to 58%.
Let’s look at the New York experience. NY introduced their Common Core Assessments in 2013, and their passing rate dropped from 55 to 31%. In 2014, the passing rate stayed constant. Note, these standards are much harder than either New York’s or Florida’s older standards.
Now with the new Florida Standards and the associated Florida Standards Assessments, we project the percent of students at grade level will decline to 30 to 35%. That means that 65 to 70% of students will be below grade level, and will be required to take remedial reading.
We have listened to officials tell parents not to worry, but we believe this is a time to be concerned and get a clear picture of what present reality looks like. Here is what we recommend …
A concerned parent could and should:
- Have your child’s reading comprehension assessed to see that it is based on the new standards
- If reading comprehension is an issue, consider
- Having the school evaluate your child for a reading disability
- Getting school based services
- Consider outside services
- Assess your child for whether your child learns differently, and whether there are associated visual tracking, attention, working memory or related issues