WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The latest FCAT writing scores for fourth, eighth and 10th grade students in the Palm Beach County School District bring a bit of good news. Local students scores higher than the state average on the exam.
But that comes with a catch. Just this week, the Florida Board of Education lowered the mark needed to pass the test, after results showed plummeting test scores across the state.
"They had conventions where students' spelling, grammar, punctuation was included, then they had to also explain and be more detailed-oriented and use logic. So that represented some differences from the past. In essence it was more difficult," says PBCSD Superintendent E. Wayne Gent.
If that higher standard had stayed in place less than 40% of local students would have passed the FCAT writing exam. But the Superintendent is focusing on the positive.
"When we compare ourselves to the rest of the state we still outperform them," says Gent.
The change initiates an investigation into the test itself, something educators and parents alike are anxious to see.
"We're hopeful there will be a thorough analysis of the entire testing process and programs at the state to make sure it's an accurate reflection of what our students know," says Gent.