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Senate supports FCAT alternatives

They pass a bill that would allow seniors who fail the FCAT to use alternatives such as SAT scores to get a diploma.

By Associated Press
Published June 19, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would give high school seniors a chance to graduate even if they fail the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The bill (HB 23B) would give students who fail the FCAT a chance to earn a diploma by meeting other criteria such as achieving certain scores on standard college entrance exams.

The measure would give an estimated 400 seniors - who met all other requirements but failed the FCAT - clearance to receive high school diplomas this year.

Students now must pass the 10th-grade FCAT in order to graduate. About 13,000 of this year's seniors failed it, despite six chances over a three-year period.

The Senate passed an amended version of the bill 38-0 before returning it to the House, which approved such a bill 111-2 on Tuesday. It is reviewing minor Senate changes.

Gov. Jeb Bush, who first rejected the idea of FCAT alternatives, now supports the idea as long as it doesn't lower standards.

The bill directs the Florida Board of Education to determine which scores on tests such as the SAT or the ACT would be equivalent to a passing score on the FCAT and to allow high school seniors to substitute those scores to earn a diploma.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education, meeting in Orlando, rejected that idea by a 5-1 vote.

[Last modified June 19, 2003, 02:02:50]

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