Science FCAT 2011

Results for Florida’s annual science exams taken by 3rd, 8th, and 11th graders were released today. The good news? Scores overall improved since last year. The bad news? The rise in scores is small, and 50 percent of our state’s students aren’t proficient in science. I’m tired of being a broken record here, so I’ll just link to my coverage of previous years’ scores (2008, 2009, 2010). It’s all disappointingly the same old story.

Today’s write up in the Orlando Sentinel opens with a focus on science, which is refreshing.

Florida students did better this year on the FCAT science exams, though fewer than half of those tested scored at grade level, results released this morning showed.

“I’m very encouraged by the continued progress we are seeing in science, but the overall performance of our students is still far too low,” said Education Commissioner Eric Smith.

Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 take the FCAT science exam. This year, 51 percent of fifth graders scored at grade level — earning a 3 or better on the five-level test — while 46 percent of eighth graders and 40 percent of 11th graders did as well.

The science scores were the highest since that FCAT exam was first given in 2003, increasing two to three percentage points at each grade level from last year.

The St. Petersburg Times’ story talks about science, too:

All three science FCATs were also used for the last time. In the future, the state will rely on science end-of-course exams in high school. It will roll out FCAT 2.0 versions of the fifth- and eighth-grade science tests next year.

Statewide, students showed improvement on all three science tests, but in no grade did more than 51 percent of students score at grade level or above.

“I’m very encouraged by the continued progress we are seeing in science, but the overall performance of our students is still far too low,” Smith said in a written statement. “Important changes have recently been made to accelerate this progress, including increased graduation requirements that include critical science courses, our next generation curriculum standards that hone in on core science concepts and our Race to the Top win that has given us additional resources to concentrate on this vital subject area.”

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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7 Responses to Science FCAT 2011

  1. Pierce R. Butler says:

    This results will be greatly consequential in school administration, but academically probably don’t deserve to be taken too seriously.

    The FCAT, after all, is a terribly flawed metric, and tells us basically about how much teachers are focusing on this test but relatively little about how much or how well students are actually learning.

  2. Kevin Folta says:

    Education Commissioner Eric Smith really soft pedals a crisis. Encouraging progress? At this rate 100% of students will be proficient in science, well, probably never.

    What is the point of schools if 50% of students successfully graduate as science/math illiterates?

  3. Anna Clarke says:

    I take issue with Pierce Butler’s statements. I teach at a Montessori middle school. We certainly don’t teach to the test but all 8 of my 8th graders passed the science, reading and math. When I taught at a regular school, my students’ science scores were high and we did not do “bookwork” or practice questions. Since then a teacher who does “teach to the test” has taken over at my former “regular” school – scores went down.

  4. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    btw I believe Commissioner Smith is resigning as of today, June 10th.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says:

    I suspect that Anna Clarke is simply a very good teacher.

  6. Logan Vetter says:

    I got a two on the science Fcat. I never do bad on my FCATs like i’ve never gotten below a four. Im in 11 grade and im freaking out i actually thought the test was quite easy, however there were alot of questions where i thought it could be 1 or 2. Im gonna cry the FCAT is GARBAGE and im just retarded for failing it. My score: 313 in order to get a 5 i need 425+
    Am i going to have to take remedial science? :…(
    A TWO!!!!<<—

  7. Science Dad says:

    I came across a really good study aid that might help other middle school students. Here is the website. My son did very well, in fact, from 5th grade to 8th grade, his score went from a 2 to a 4. It definitely works.

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