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Florida sets passing scores for state's high-stakes test

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida's public schools now have new test scores and grading standards to follow.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday approved new passing scores for what students should earn on tests in reading and math, as well as end-of-course exams given in Algebra and Geometry.

“This is a transition and we’ve seen when the board has gone too hard in the past them needing to put things in place that would mitigate that and I think this is a way for us to make a smooth transition as we move forward, I think it’s really the right thing for us to do for Florida," Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said.

The board also approved a new formula that uses the test scores to assign an A-to-F grade to Florida's schools. Board members voted 6-1 for the new scores and the new grading formula.

Some wanted the state to make the passing scores tougher. They also argued the new grading formula will make it too easy for schools to earn a top grade.

But school superintendents around the state backed the change proposed by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and approved by the board. It means about 51 percent of 10th graders would pass the test needed for graduation.