FCAT prep- is it working? No

We know that many of our public schools are spending hours of class time preparing for the FCAT tests. In the schools that have the lowest scores, they have replaced most reading, math and science classes with FCAT prep. What has it done? Very little to improve FCAT scores.

Let’s track the test scores of the 2002 3rd grade class. What percentage failed (less than a score of 3) the reading test as that class moved through the Escambia County public school system?
2002 Third grade: 42%
2004 Fifth grade: 43%
2006 Seventh grade: 41%
2008 Ninth grade: 56%

Let’s track the test scores of the 2004 third grade class
2004 Third grade: 38%
2006 Fifth grade: 37%
2008 Seventh grade: 42%

How about the 2006 third grade class?
2006 Third grade: 29%
2008 Fifth grade: 37%

While it looks like the Escambia County students are performing their initial third grade reading tests better than in 2002, they are not improving their test scores as they move through the system. In fact, the scores get worse.

For our African-American students, it’s worse:
2002 Third grade: 64%
2004 Fifth grade: 66%
2006 Seventh grade: 60%
2008 Ninth grade: 77%

No improvement, slight decline
2004 Third grade: 58%
2006 Fifth grade: 59%
2008 Seventh grade: 60%

Huge drop
2006 Third grade: 45%
2008 Fifth grade: 56%

It’s time the School District rethink its emphasis on FCAT tutoring and preparation.

Update – I look at 2007 & 2009 reading scores to see if they are any different. Not really

2007 Third grade: All 33% African-American: 51%
2009 Fifth grade: All 32% African-American: 51%

It appears that it’s rare that a class improves on its reading test scores from third grade.