JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a test every student must pass to move up the ladder in math and graduate high school. But the results are in and only 59 percent of Florida students who took it this year earned a passing grade. That means summer school for many students.LINK: STATEWIDE SCHOOL BY SCHOOL ALGEBRA SCORES
The Algebra 1 End-Of-Course assessment (EOC) can be taken at any grade level - depending how advanced the student is in math. So for students taking it in 9th grade, if they didn't pass, it's strongly encouraged they go to summer school so they can move on to the next math course next school year.
"The 9th graders who took the test, they're the first set of cohorts who are under the new policy that you must pass algebra EOC in order to graduate," said Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson.
That means the students who didn't make the grade can't move forward without some type of remediation.
"They have to pass the test to get the credit so there are sites this summer that are available for kids to come to that and then get to take the test again at the end of July," explained Duval County Schools Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.
The state Board of Education knew by increasing the standards, more students would struggle. But the big question now is how will counties be able to handle a larger number of students needing summer school?
"Even though it's a terrible financial year, we set aside significant funds not only for this but also in reading," said Pratt-Dannals. "We're ready. We'll serve all students that come and need to come."
9th graders who didn't pass the test aren't required to retake it by summer's end. But if they don't, they will fall behind in their math courses, potentially jeopardizing the rest of their schooling.
"We require four math credits so we want to make sure as many as possible complete that by 9th grade so they can get the rest of their course work in because we have the highest requirements in the state right now in terms of mathematics requirements," he said.
There are a few other options rather than summer school. Duval County students can take the online program - Duval Virtual School. But Pratt-Dannals says unless a student is extremely disciplined, they'd be best with the face-to-face help that summer school provides.
Duval County administrators say they need to significantly ramp up their strategies moving forward to make sure more kids pass the test early. That includes ensuring the strongest teachers are teaching Algebra 1 in 8-10 grades.