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Results mixed in Broward FCAT reading, math & science exams

Sun-Sentinel - 5/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
by Douane D. James

Broward County students in grades 4 through 11 showed mixed success on this year's FCAT reading, math and science exams, according to the last batch of 2007 results released Wednesday.

Younger students continue to fare the best on the annual exams. Among Broward fourth-graders, 68 percent scored at grade level or higher on the reading exam and 75 percent passed the math. Among ninth-graders, only 42 percent passed the reading and 64 percent the math.

As usual, Broward students largely outperformed the state averages.

In reading, scores largely edged up or remained flat compared to last year. In math, students improved in five of the seven grades.

Though science scores for students in fifth-, eighth- and 11th-grades improved over last year, the overall results remained poor.

Science is the newest subject added to the exam, and the scores will be included in the school grading formula for the first time this year. Yet despite a renewed focus on the subject this year's scores are the most disappointing for any in the FCAT series.

Last year, only about a third of Broward students passed the science exam. This year, pass rates improved to 43 percent in fifth grade, 36 percent in eighth grade and 34 percent in 11th grade.

Statewide, students in nearly all grades improved their reading, science and math scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test this year.

Statewide results rose at all levels in the three subjects over last year, except for falling scores in third grade reading and sixth grade math and reading. Tenth grade math was unchanged.

The high-stakes FCAT is used to grade, reward and penalize public schools. Third graders must pass the reading portion to be promoted and high school students must do so to earn a standard diploma. It also plays a role in determining whether teachers receive merit pay.

School-by-school results will be released at www.fldoe.org.

The FCAT is an annual exam that measures how students meet state standards in reading, math, writing and science.

The scores determine school letter grades and affects which third-graders are promoted and which high school students receive a diploma.

The sate Department of Education will announce school letter grades in mid-June.