Published: May 14, 2012 11:28 PM EDT
Updated: May 14, 2012 11:32 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- "It has got to be discouraging for all educators right now to see those results," said Lee Co. Superintendent Joseph Burke.

Preliminary numbers from the writing section of the FCAT show the percentage of fourth graders scoring an acceptable score, a 4 on the 6-point grading scale, dropped from 81 percent last year to 27 percent this year. For 8th graders, it was 33 percent down from 82percent in 2011. Tenth graders scored around the same.

In November, the State Board of Education upped the ante of the FCAT and what constitutes a passing score.

Dr. Burke said there's a lot that needs to be done. "We are going to need to teach more writing and grade for conventions."

One solution is to lower the score used in the school's grading formula to a 3.5. Forty-eight percent of fourth graders hit that mark as opposed to the 27 percent who met the 4-point score. Still, it may just be putting a band-aid on the bigger problem.

Dr. Burke said, "That is one of the proposals and may be reasonable. I think we have to see what the conversation is tomorrow."

In an effort to get the grades up next year, the State Board of Education has called an emergency conference Tuesday. It has only released preliminary results for the three grades that take the writing test.