During an emergency meeting Tuesday, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to lower the standard score for the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test from 4.0 to 3.0. The standard for the writing section, which is graded on a scale of 0.0 at the lower end to 6.0 at the high end, was raised last year from 3.5. Subsequently, papers were graded much more rigorously this year, with reviewers no longer taking a lax view of spelling and grammatical errors. The changes led to a steep drop in scores. For example, last year 81 percent of fourth graders earned a 4.0 but that fell to 27 percent this year. Board members originally wanted to reduce the standard to 3.5, but even that standard would only have left only 48 percent of fourth graders with a passing score. Eighty-one percent of fourth graders received a 3.0 or better. LobbyTools subscribers: View a chart comparing the score levels earned on the 2012 FCAT Writing exam. Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said his department, which issued advisories to school districts last summer, should have done a better job of driving home what the changes in scoring would mean to teachers and schools. There should have been more follow-up on the change in rigor ... and the impact on schools, Robinson said. Education board lowers FCAT writing standards after scores plummet | The Florida Current So we have to pay these teachers and their unions to do what? not to teach but "lower the standards"