ST AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test eighth-grade math scores are down in one of the state's top performing districts. But St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Joyner said looks are deceiving.
"On first blush, it looks like we had a big dip in eighth-grade math when in fact, we didn't," he said.
It's a statewide discrepancy. Joyner said the issue revolves around eighth-grade math. Because some eighth-graders take high school level math classes, they have to take the high school end of course exam. But because they're still middle-schoolers, they need to take the FCAT, too.
Jeanett Booth's daughter, Ashley, is one of those kids.
"In order to get credit for it she has to pass an end of course test and then the class counts for high school credit," she said.
Joyner said each district can decide whether the kids will take both tests. He opted not to double-test last school year, but the move was costly. St Johns County's math FCAT score dropped from 77 percent to 58 percent proficiency, he called it a deceiving mark.
"When you take that large number of the population out of the test scores and they're by and large your highest performing math students, then you're going to see an impact in the overall 8th grade FCAT," Joyner said.
He said there needs to be a level playing field, either all districts double test, or none do. Booth agreed.
"No, yeah, I don't understand why that would be. I would surely want it to be consistent. There should be a reason for testing people so if there's a reason then do it if there's not a good reason don't do it," Booth said.
The state legislature changed the law last year, allowing school districts to decide for themselves whether to double-test.