Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aug. 10: State Gets An "F" For FCAT Investigation

By Sylvia Gurinsky

If the issue of whether the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test should be the primary measuring stick of schools in the state was put on the ballot, one gets the sense a majority of Floridians would say an overwhelming "No."

Ever since former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature took what was meant to be a measuring stick and turned it into a threatening weapon for schools, there have been problems. The issue about this year's scoring is the latest.

Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith seems to be trying to say that all is well with the scoring - despite a common perception among members of the public and school district leaders across the state to the contrary, and despite enough weird changes in scores from last year to this year (including a large number of schools that went from "A" to "F") to suggest more investigation is needed.

The St. Petersburg Times has mentioned a link between one of the companies auditing the scores and the company that scores the test:


And The Orlando Sentinel wonders whether Smith may be trying to rush things because of the federal Race To the Top program, which includes a lot of money:


If children were accused of cheating on this test, there would be a full investigation. Now it's the state that's accused, and nothing less than a full, open and independent investigation will be acceptable.

If it's evident that all was not kosher, then NCS Pearson should go - and so should Smith.

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