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ERIC Number: ED536607
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Measuring FCAT Improvement. Research Brief. Volume 0806
Froman, Terry; Shneyderman, Aleksandr
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Since the inception of the FCAT, the scaled scores students receive have been summarized by categorizing them into levels of performance. For every single test (in one subject area, at one grade level, for one year) the State of Florida has carefully determined cutoff scores that classify performance into 5 different levels of proficiency. It seems quite natural to refer to the percentage of students beyond a particular cutoff, as when one says a certain percentage of students scored at Level 3 or above. However, this seemingly straightforward "percent-above-cutoff" type of summary statistic when used to describe improvement in performance has subtle built-in difficulties that can lead to grossly inaccurate inferences. There are alternative ways of summarizing FCAT performance that are just as simple and easy to interpret as percent-above-cutoff type descriptions but do not carry with them the inherent dangers. It is the purpose of this paper to show exactly when and how the commonly used FCAT reports can go wrong and suggest alternative statistics that keep one on the right track.
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 1450 NE Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132. Tel: 305-995-1000; Fax: 305-995-7521; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Research Services
Identifiers - Location: Florida
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test