TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Florida ninth-graders who took the state’s first ever end-of-course Algebra I exam, on average, got only 41-percent of the answers correct.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith announced that result Wednesday during a conference call meeting of the State Board of Education.

The computer-based exam, given to ninth-graders, takes the place of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The Florida Department of Education is phasing out some portions of the FCAT and replacing them with these end of course exams.

Students took the test last month.

Smith said it was a hard test and intended to be that way but that the results aren’t as bad as they may seem. He said student scores have averaged as low as the teens on initial end-of-course exams in some states.

“I would like to commend Florida’s outstanding Algebra 1 teachers for their work this year to help students be successful in this critical course,” said Smith in a released statement. “Algebra 1 is widely considered as one of the most important gatekeeper courses for a pathway to college or a career certification program, and the skills it provides are invaluable throughout life.”

Because this is the first year of the Algebra test, the state has not yet set achievement and passing levels.

“Today’s release of Algebra 1 EOC results represents a significant milestone in Florida’s education improvement efforts for two main reasons,” said Smith. “First, these exams are measuring student performance on very clear, course-specific Algebra 1 content standards that will allow our teachers to study results, benchmark their performance and refine their instructional approaches as necessary. Second, this EOC assessment was given to students almost entirely via computer, representing a very large-scale, very successful statewide introduction to computer-based testing, meaning more time for our students to learn the important algebra content and a quicker turnaround for results in the years ahead.”

Biology and geometry end-of-course tests will be added next year.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. Les Wheeler says:

    The sample problem on the blackboard is incorect.

    The factors are:(2x + 1)(x+2)

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