FCAT Dropouts

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An education historian at the University of Florida said kids who fail Florida's mandatory test for high school graduation might be more likely to drop out of school if they fail.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test will be given to high school students this spring. While the sophomores and juniors will get other chances, seniors have to pass to graduate on time.

Researcher Sherman Dorn said seniors who fail the test might be more likely to just leave school. He said the tendency would get even greater if the economy improves.

This year is the first that the high stakes test will count towards graduation. More than 12,000 12th-grade students have still not passed the FCAT.

By looking at high school graduation rates over the past century, Dorn said economic factors play a large role in whether teen-agers have remained in school.