Florida Education Commissioner mostly sides with Reactor Panel over Educator Panel in making science and math test scoring recommendaitons

From a Monday Florida Department of Education press release:

Statement from Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart on Achievement Level Recommendations for Geometry and Biology End-Of-Course Assessments and FCAT 2.0 Science

“Continuing Florida’s move to more rigorous standards and higher student expectations, I have put forward my recommendations that will define the achievement level cut scores for Geometry and Biology 1 End-of-Course assessments and grades 5 and 8 FCAT 2.0 Science. These new benchmarks reflect our ongoing commitment to ensure that all students are ready for college, career, and life.

“The standards setting process drew on the expertise of Florida educators, postsecondary faculty, and business and community leaders to analyze student achievement data and consider the impact on college readiness and students’ ability to move to the next level. Our students need to be able to compete in a global economy and acquiring those skills depends on the expectations we set for them and the learning opportunities we provide. In considering the panel’s recommendations, I looked at balancing our higher expectations with encouraging continued student achievement, and I believe that we are on the right path.

“I want to thank the members of the educator and reactor panels for their diligent work and the public for providing input during a series of rule development workshops. The State Board of Education will consider these recommendations at its December 12, 2012, meeting.”

Here is a summary of the recommendations of the Educator and Reactor Panels and the Commissioner:

Percentages passing under recommendations of Educator Panel, Reactor Panel, Interim Commissioner

Group                      Grade 5 Sci  Grade 8 Sci   Geometry    Biology

Educator Panel            71%                   69%                   46%                   66%

Reactor Panel               51%                   53%                   53%                   59%

Commissioner              52%                  47%                   55%                   59%

I was a member of the Reactor Panel, and summaries of the work of both the Educator and Reactor Panels are available here.

The Commissioner’s press release was the first public mention of the word “science” by a member of the FDOE leadership in quite a while.  Woot.

For level-headed accounts of the Commissioner’s recommendations, see School Zone and Gradebook.

Additional observation, 5:00 pm:  While the press release is 75% about science, the writer of the release managed to get by with using the word “science” only once in the text.  Impressive.

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