Published: May 24, 2012 5:02 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Fewer third graders have passed the tougher new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test's reading and math exams, just as predicted.
    
Results released Thursday show that 56 percent are reading and 58 percent are doing math at or above level three on a one-to-five scale.
    
Third graders, though, need only score at level two or above on the reading exam to be promoted. Only 18 percent, or nearly 36,500 students, didn't make it.
    
Students last year took the FCAT 2.0 for the first time, but scores then were based on a previous grading system. As a result, 72 percent passed the reading test and 78 percent passed the math exam.
    
The 2011 tests now have been rescored using the new grading system, and the results are nearly the same as this year.

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