The dumbing down of America just got worse

What a shame this is, God help the next generation.  –  Phoebe

Florida lowers passing grade for state writing exam after over 70 percent of fourth-graders fail

Published May 16, 2012

The Florida Department of Education lowered the performance level standard on a state writing exam after only 27 percent of fourth graders passed, MyFoxOrlando reports.

The decision to lower the standard from a four to a three was made in an emergency conference call Tuesday. The test scores range from zero to six.

Fourth grade teachers say the test inadequately reflected their pupils’ writing abilities. They say the main reason the students did poorly was the test question was too hard.

According to the Florida Department of Education, the prompt, or essay topic, for fourth graders in the state of Florida this year was, “Suppose you or someone else had a chance to ride a camel. Imagine what happens on this camel ride. Write a story about what happens on this camel ride.”

Some teachers say the question was unfair, arguing it may be unrealistic to expect fourth-graders to know what a camel is.

“It was just a very poor prompt, when do we see camels in Central Florida,” said Ann Egitto, a language arts teacher at Rock Lake Middle School according to MyFoxOrlando.

Lisa Wright, a teacher at Idyllwilde Elementary School, agrees. “A lot fourth graders in my school probably don’t even know what a camel really is,” she said according to MyFoxOrlando.

However, the Department of Education told MyFoxOrlando the question was extensively reviewed and well-received by about 1,500 students who were selected to take it during a field-testing period.

They admitted they could have done a better job communicating student expectations to teachers after lowering the passing grade.

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5 comments on “The dumbing down of America just got worse

  1. What a load of crap! When I taught 4th grade my students would have had a ball with this question. They would have written two or three pages, in cursive, with complete sentences, and probably better punctuation than I usually manage.

    One of the things we would do for writing stories was to start with a sentence I would put on the board (ie: It was a dark and stormy night.) Each kid would add a sentence. After that was done they all had to complete the story. Some of the stories were truly magical.

  2. If Lisa Wright really believes that a nine or ten year old does not know what a camel is, then she should quit her job as an “educator” and go work at the zoo as a camel keeper and make sure each young visitor to that zoo is stopped and educated right there on the spot. We cannot keep lowering standards in education. I’ll bet Ms. Wright attends every teacher’s union meeting with zeal and is proud to contribute to the continued dumbing down of America.

  3. Don’t they have any Zoos in Florida? When I was in school, there was a field trip to the Zoo once a year. The City Zoo promoted it and subsidized the travel.

  4. OK, here is the cranky white male perspective. It’s all about the racial/ethnic make-up of Florida public schools, ha gotcha! Declaration: My two kids go to Catholic School, know what a camel is and I guess that is why I pay a king’s ransom each month. Florida’s public schools have become increasingly brown and black, ha, gotcha again! Real life teachers have told me their personal issues with; oh it’s just easier to do a list:
    Children who don’t care
    Parents who don’t care
    Teachers who don’t care
    Administrators who don’t care
    Incompetent teachers
    Incompetent administrators
    Violence in the school
    Violence in the home
    Violence on the way to school
    Horrible, horrible, horrible texts
    Oppressive bureaucratic nonsense
    Teaching to FCAT means not teaching something else
    God not welcome in classroom or anywhere else for that matter
    It’s late and I am getting bored with this, ah, bored, that meant something
    No attention span

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