In response to low test scores by students, the Florida Board of Education decided in an emergency meeting, on Tuesday, to lower the passing grade on the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
The writing exam was made more difficult by requiring more proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling and sentence structure.
Test scores showed that only about a third of students would pass this year's FCAT, compared with a passing rate of 80 percent or more last year.
Results on the FCAT are the major factor for determining how the state rewards top schools and sanctions those at the bottom. The FCAT is opposed by the teacher's unions.
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The lower passing score is expected to increase the number of students passing the exam to 48 percent for fourth grade, 52 percent for eighth grade and 60 percent for 10th grade, still way below last year's results.