Florida is poised to ratchet up its standardized testing system, making it tougher for students to pass key math and reading exams.
It's a move designed to push students, and schools, to achieve more academically. But the immediate and dramatic impact likely will be that many more students fail FCAT.
More failing test scores will mean thousands more students face being held back, assigned to remedial classes and told their diplomas are in jeopardy.
It will be a "a shock to the system," said Barbara Foorman, director of the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University.
Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said he puts the change "in the range of modest to significant." Palm Beach County Chief Academic Officer Judith Klinek said initially more students will score below what is considered proficient.
But Ron Blocker, president of the Florida Association for District School Superintendents, said most of his colleagues support the proposal to toughen the scoring. Like state educators, they hope tougher standards mean more students get help early on.