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[Susan notes: Here we see the importance of letters. One letter provokes another. . . and before you know it, we'll have a revolution.]

Published in Daytona Beach News
06/29/2006

To the editor

FCAT scores' validity doubtful



Since the June 10 Community Voices column by Bill Archer, "For achievement, we must look beyond test results," it has been reported that there is a problem with the qualifications of the scorers of the recent Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests. It seems some of the hires may not have the qualifications that would allow them to reliably grade the "high-stakes" FCAT test. The results of those tests determine whether students are retained or promoted and what grades schools will earn for the purpose of receiving bonus money. The grades even affect the Average Yearly Progress score under which the No Child Left Behind Act determines whether a school's Title I funds will be continued. Mr. Archer's suspicion that there may be unqualified scorers has now become a reality. The latest findings show many of the people scoring the FCAT are unqualified! Therefore I believe FCAT results are invalid!



As a teacher of 43 years, I believe parents who are making decisions about their children's educational futures based on these scores need to be cautious. And those whose children have struggled with learning problems can be misled into believing there has been a sudden "cure" or, worse, that the public school teachers and administrators have been wrong in their professional judgments. Removing their children from their current schools to attend private schools as a reaction makes matters worse for their children.



Education Commissioner John Winn has minimized the news of unqualified scorers grading the high-stakes FCAT in an effort to keep the dialogue about the negative spinoffs from broadening into the scandal it deserves to be!



Sandra G. Blackburn


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