Failing the Test

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Most seniors don't take the test during their last year. They passed it in the tenth grade, but those who fail have to retake it until they achieve a passing grade.

Brook Loyed is the assistant principal for guidance at Mosley High School and understands the anxiety surrounding the FCAT test scores for high school seniors.

"We have 44 seniors who need the reading portion, 29 students who need the math portion and any of those students who, we hope they pass this time. We're counting on it, but if they do not they'll be able to retake in the summer."

Patricia Schenck the Curriculum Resource Teacher for Bay District schools says there are options for failing seniors.

"If they do not pass the graduation requirement for the FCAT, then they can receive a certificate of completion and go on to a post-secondary education."

But passing the test in June is something the Roy Smith, the dean of student development at Gulf Coast Community College, says is really important.

"Here at the college we encourage people to get their high school diploma, that's what we'd like them to do. It opens up a lot many more doors of opportunity for them if they do that."

And without that FCAT passing score, graduating students are also declined federal financial aid. Despite the access to federal aid, across the state the numbers don't vary much for students continuing their education.

Only 63 percent of Florida's students with standard diplomas went on for more education compared to the 58 percent of the students who failed the FCAT also choosing to get more education, something some students will have to contemplate this week because only 28 percent of Bay County's seniors who took the test passed the reading portion. That's six points below the state average. Seventeen percent passed the math section, nine points below the state average.