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Local FCAT retake results in; some won’t graduate

MANATEE — At least 224 seniors in Manatee County public high schools will not receive their diplomas this month, according to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test retake results released Thursday.

Students in the state must pass the reading and math portions of the FCAT to graduate from high school.

As of March 10, the Manatee County school district had 2,596 seniors at its six high schools, and charter and alternative schools, said school spokesman Mike Barber.

This is the first year students will not have a chance to take the test again over the summer, said Carla Frazier, director of testing for the district.

That’s because the state cut the summer make-up dates last year as part of budget cuts. But those students, if they choose, have the opportunity next fall to retake the test, Barber said.

Despite some not potentially graduating, FCAT tests show Manatee 12th graders retaking the test topped state averages in reading and math.

During the most recent retake in October, 287 students in the 12th grade took the reading test; 22 percent earned a scale score of 300 or higher to meet the graduation requirement, Barber said. Statewide, 22,925 seniors took the test and 20 percent earned a scale score of 300 or higher.

On the retake test for math, 102 students in the 12th grade were assessed and 27 percent earned a scale score of 300 or higher, Barber said. Statewide, 8,540 seniors took the test and 26 percent earned a scale score of 300 or higher.

The total number of Manatee students who will not graduate was not available Thursday, Frazier said. She did say that the number would be available today.

But of those who retook the latest reading test, 224 did not pass. Of the students who retook the latest math test, 74 did not pass.

Students may have retaken both the reading and math FCAT and failed one test but not the other, Barber said.

In addition, some students who previously failed the test may not have retaken it.

Frazier said she is pleased with those who passed this time around.

“Every time a child passes the retake there is a reason to celebrate because there is one more child eligible for graduation,” she said Thursday.

FCATs are first taken during students’ sophomore year.

If students don’t pass the tests, they have several chances to retake it, Barber said.

Those who did not pass this last round of retesting will not graduate with their classes, Barber said.

“Those are students who for one reason or another struggled,” Barber said. “But they can take it again in the fall of next school year.”

If they pass it then, can get their diploma, he added.

Those seniors, who did not pass the FCAT the first time they took it as sophomores in March 2007, had four more chances, Frazier said.