Journalism Next | Taylor Zeisloft

Special to the HeraldDecember 9, 2013 

Students of the American educational system are inundated with tests each year, constantly being assessed and compared with their peers.

Tests taken in one sitting can greatly affect student futures with passing scores a requirement for graduation.

In 2010, the state of Florida's average SAT critical reading score was the lowest since 1994.

However, the math score was the highest since 2007.

The state average writing score has decreased since the section was introduced in 2006.

What do these scores really mean?

From data released by the College Board in 2010, the state's lowest average SAT scores were in 2009 and 2010.

However, in the 2010-11 school year, the state had its highest graduation rate for the period -- 7.9 percent higher than the graduating class of 2007-08, according to Education Information and Accountability Services.

From 2002-10, the percentage of students passing the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test has increased every year and math suffered a drop in only one year, 2010.

Tony Losada, MHS assistant principal, said he believes the tests are a result of the teaching from a particular class and things need to be done right in order for students to do well.

"There will be success as long as the curriculum that is being taught in the classroom aligns with the standards being assessed," said Losada.

The overall upward trend in FCAT scores mirrors the increasing state graduation rate.

Since 2007-08, Manatee County graduation rate increased 13.7 percent with 76.2 percent of seniors graduating in 2012.

Paralleling average test scores, Asians have the highest graduation rate, followed by whites, biracial students, Hispanics, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and African-Americans.

Since 2002-03, there has

been only one drop in the overall upward trend of Florida's graduation rates. In the 2005-06 school year the state only graduated 58.8 percent of its seniors.

However, the ninth-grade FCAT reading and math scores of that class were higher than the class of 2005, which had a higher graduation rate. Standardized test scores lead to mixed results, which lead to many questioning their effectiveness.

"I think that when it comes to standardized testing, that we test our students way too much," said guidance counselor Candi Horsting. "A norm-referenced test would allow students to accurately measure their performance amongst their peers nationwide. This would also allow us to determine college-readiness."

Educators continue to seek a process that will accurately measure student achievement. For example, a class with higher overall test scores should not have a lower graduation rate.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service