Education Politics State & National News

Robinson defends FCAT writing exam

May 15, 2012

Education Commissioner Gerald Robinson held a press conference this afternoon and allowed reporters from around the state to question him about the Florida Board of Education’s decision earlier in the day to drop the standard for passing the writing exam from a 4 to a 3 –on a scale of 1 to 6.

I pointedly asked Robinson if the board had rolled out the new standards and rigors too quickly without giving teachers and districts sufficient time to adjust their lesson plans. He disagreed but did admit that FDOE could do a better job of professional development. Robinson said that the state did a poor job of communicating the new standards and requirements and should have had more follow up with the districts. He pledged to do things differently but wasn’t clear how that would be done.

Robinson defended his board’s vote, telling the reporters that it didn’t lower the standards, but merely lowered the bar for measuring its impact on how the writing scores are used to evaluate the schools.

Reporters pointed out that in the 2011 FCAT gave students 45 minutes to finish a writing draft. For 2012, the students had to produce in the same time a finished writing product that was graded on spelling, punctuation and grammar. Robinson said that the state is looking into granting more time for the writing exam next year.

Robinson said that school grades are scheduled to be released in mid-July, but his department is working hard to get them out in late June. He predicted that many people will be surprised at how the new standards in reading and math will impact school grades.

“People are going to say ‘Wow, why didn’t someone tell us about this?'” said Robinson.

I asked the commissioner what was the one lesson that he learned from this.

“Communication,” said Robinson. “Just because we are communication through the channels that we believe are most appropriate, doesn’t mean it is being funneled down to the people who need it most.”

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  • L.Laird May 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Remember Pensacola, 62% of you voted for Scott and his pack of republicans Dracula’s in Office, Why do local enlighten individuals vote for and support any Republican???…Look around folks,,,cut’s in education, cuts in Library funding,, cuts in medical service for the working poor, cuts for meals on wheels, you name it, if it is for any social or education funding, it was cut and will be continue to be slash if voters continue to return the evil ones to Tallahassee..Old saying, you get what you paid for or voted for….

  • Ames May 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Here’s his bio:
    Heritage opens doors for Robinson.
    No state has kept him more than 2 years.

  • Helpmehere May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I suggest that we can the leadership at the state Education department and scrap the current system as it is clearly broken. FCAT is an abomination and it is a shame that Florida is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to K-12 public education.

  • Teresa May 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I would LOVE to give the GOMATH test to Mr. Robinson. I’m willing to bet he wouldn’t pass it. The reading series we are using in K-5 is terrible. The problem is they are testing on things that is not in the curriculum. It would be nice if the DOE would sit down and look at what is in the text books before they made up a test. If its not in the books..It’s not being taught.

  • Betty McAlpin May 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Rick Scott Education Fundementals:

    Slash funding.
    When scores plummet, change the grading system.

    50 percent is passing? In what universe?