State officials are estimating that, because of an error on last year's reading test, 16,834 students who passed Florida's key reading exam last year actually failed. These students likely had trouble sounding out new words and answering questions about stories they had read.
State educators said they are most worried about 6,326 students from that group because their performance on both the 2007 FCAT and another national standardized test indicated continuing and significant reading problems...
Some of the students perhaps mistakenly promoted ended up doing well on the fourth-grade FCAT. Twenty-one percent of them scored at grade level -- meaning they theould read as the state says a fourth-grader should. That was compared with 68 percent of all the nearly 200,000 fourth-graders tested.
Robert Lange, a retired University of Central Florida professor, said he viewed that success as proof that it is better to keep low-performing children with their age group and provide them extra help than to hold them back. He said in the long-term, retention does not work.
Lange is a member of the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform, which is opposed to the state's use of FCAT scores for high-stakes decisions such as promotion and retention.
Florida Department of Education officials took baby steps to minimize the impact of the blunder recently uncovered in more than 20,000 third-grade reading scores from the 2006 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.