COLLIER COUNTY, Fla -- First thing Tuesday morning, state education leaders will have an emergency meeting to consider lowering the passing grade on the writing portion of the FCAT.
The reason is, with new higher standards and a different scoring method, a lot of kids failed. In some cases, almost all of them.
Ashley Williamson, a mother of five, has four kids in the Collier County School District. She says, "I definitely think the standards were set high enough and the pressure was enough for the students and the teachers."
But not all parents agree that state education leaders should lower standards when it comes to scoring for the writing portion of the FCAT.
Tricia Mackay has 12-year-old quadruplets at North Naples. She says, "you never want to lower the standards for standardized testing. Our goal is always to achieve more and to do better."
The new passing standard is a score of 4.0. That's a higher level and a different scoring scale than before. In 2011 the passing standard was a score of 3.5.
Terry Clark, former Vice President of the Collier County Education Association says, "when you keep raising the scale, not everyone is above average. It's a mathematical impossibility so what you do when you make these scores higher and higher to pass, you're going to have some fallout."
Preliminary results from this years FCAT show just 27 percent of 4th graders received a passing grade of 4.0 or better. In 2011, 81 percent passed.
Williamson says, "I think we need to set the standards high, but not beyond what the kids can accomplish.
Part of this years problem, is in addition to the new scoring system, the tests are tougher. The writing exam is more difficult, focusing more on punctuation, spelling and sentence structure.
At Tuesdays meeting, the big question will be, do they lower the passing score back to 3.5 to get more kids to pass?
Some parents feel the teachers just need more time to teach and lowering standards sets a bad precedent. "No one wants to keep lowering, because where do you stop? We want to achieve more. That's all we want for our children and our school districts," says Mackay.
The State Education Board will hold its emergency meeting at 10 a.m. in Tallahassee.