Why does Bridge to Tomorrow have a post on the standard-setting process for FCAT science and EOC’s in geometry and biology?
Because I was on the reactor panel, the group of twenty individuals from a variety of backgrounds that met last week to review the recommendations of K-12 educators regarding the passing scores for the Grade 5 and 8 Science FCAT exams and the new end-of-course exams in geometry and biology.
Late this afternoon, the FDOE posted every written response each individual on the reactor panel gave during the day-and-a-half process on its standard-setting web page.
Overall, the reactor panel recommended continuity. While the educator panels recommended passing scores on the 5th and 8th grade Science FCAT’s that would have dramatically increased the percentages of students passing those two exams, the reactor panel recommended passing scores that would leave the passing rates close to what they are now. The reactor panel toughened the passing score on the Biology EOC so that it was only a little higher than the 5th and 8th grade Science FCAT’s, while the educator panel’s recommendation would have passed significantly more students. The reactor panel recommended a passing score for the Geometry EOC that would pass a percentage of students close to that passing the Algebra 1 EOC, while the educator panel had recommended a significantly tougher standard.
Next is a series of public hearings. Then the Interim Commissioner, Pam Stewart, will announce her own recommendations. And then the State Board of Education will make final decisions.
My comments on each test are visible in the “Reactor Panel Feedback Summary”, but they are groan-inducingly predictable. On the Biology EOC: “Raising the graduation requirement (Level 3 cut) in biology will accelerate the redirection of physical science instruction resources to biology remediation.” Yes, I really wrote that – it is now public record. Of course, it also happens to be true. For example, East Gadsden High School has dropped physics. Commenting on the educator panel-recommended cut scores on the 5th and 8th grade Science FCAT’s: “Raising the cut score will restore the emphasis on physical science.”
So I’m a physics booster. What’s your point? (But I’m not JUST a physics booster)
One more thing. You’ve heard of sacrifice in the name of public service? How about spending a day-and-a-half locked in a room with me while I crow about the virtues of physics? Talk about taking one for the team…
School Zone has a post on the release of the information on educator and reactor panel deliberations. Leslie Postal notes that some of the reactor panel comments “talked about the need to put more emphasis on teaching science, among other issues.”