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Putting Education Reform To The Test

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Your Guide To Florida's Ever-Changing FCAT

Background

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is the foundation upon which the “Florida model” of education reform was built, serving as the basis for school and district report cards. FCAT result will also comprise half of teacher evaluations once districts design their legislatively required merit pay systems.

Florida rolled out the standardized test in 1998, and in 2010 tested students on math, reading, writing and science. School and district grades are based on both student scores and their improvement on the test from previous years.

An updated version of the test, known as FCAT 2.0, began phasing out the original version in 2010. The new test will be given to students as young as 3rd grade, and increases the difficulty of the math, science and reading tests.

The updated test will eventually include end-of-course exams for Algebra, Biology, Civics, Geometry and U.S. History.

Critics have argued tying standardized tests, such as the FCAT, to teacher pay encourages teachers or districts to cut corners or cheat to achieve better schools. In 2011, Florida asked 14 districts to review FCAT test with a high number of similar answers.

Latest Posts

Schools Suspend FCAT Because Of Computer Problems

Some Florida school districts have suspended FCAT testing after having problems connecting to the online exam.

UPDATE: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has sent a letter to Pearson saying she expects “a resolution and explanation for this immediately.” “This failure is inexcusable,” Stewart wrote. “Florida’s students and teachers work too hard on learning to be distracted by these needless and avoidable technological issues.” Read Stewart’s letter below. Original post: Schools are suspending [...]

Why Florida Parents Want To Opt Their Kids Out Of State Tests

Last week Gov. Rick Scott delivered an $8.5 million check to Hillsborough County schools earning good marks on the state’s grading formula. Those grades depend a lot on student FCAT scores. So Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia took a moment pump up students at West Tampa’s Graham Elementary School before this week’s testing. “Next week you’re [...]

Meet The New SAT

Throw away the old prep guides because the SAT will be changing in 2016.

The new SAT will take a little less time, focus on words students are more likely to encounter and have fewer answers for each multiple choice question, according to a preview from the College Board, to non-profit which oversees the college entrance exam. Changes to the SAT are particularly important in Florida, because the Sunshine [...]

Gov. Scott Avoids Question About House, Senate Private School Scholarship Dispute

Gov. Rick Scott presented Hillsborough schools with an $8.5 million check. Schools which earned an A on the state report card or significantly improved their grade earned a $100 bonus per student.

House and Senate leaders are divided over whether students who receive a tax credit scholarship to attend a private school should have to take the state’s standardized test. The dispute — the Senate wants the requirement, the House does not — has threatened to derail a bill which would expand eligibility for the private school [...]

The Florida Tests Which Will Remain After The Switch To Common Standards

The FCAT will mostly disappear from Florida schools next year. But like a zombie, the state's science exam will still carry the FCAT name.

The final bell begins tolling today for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Florida schools are scheduled to complete the switch to new K-12 math and language arts standards based on Common Core this fall. New standards will require a new test. So Florida is switching to math and language arts exams produced by the American [...]

Remembering FCAT, 1995-2014

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is dying, say Florida education officials. By this time next year, the FCAT will be replaced with a new, Common Core-aligned assessment. FCAT was born in 1995 in the humid June of a Tallahassee summer. The Florida Commission on Education Reform and Accountability under Gov. Lawton Chiles gave birth to the test. It was part of [...]

Florida Matters: Choosing The Next FCAT

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will soon choose an FCAT replacement.

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart is expected to recommend a test to (mostly) replace the FCAT this month. A new test is needed because Florida is finishing the switch to new K-12 math, language arts and literacy standards this fall. The standards are largely based on Common Core standards fully adopted by 44 other states [...]

With Test Decision Soon, ACT Launches New Florida Website

A screenshot from the ACTAspireFlorida.org website. The state is expected to choose a new exam in March.

Testing firm ACT has launched a website to advertise and educate the public about its new exam as the Florida Department of Education decides which test will mostly replace the FCAT. The ACT Aspire is one of five exams which submitted bids to become Florida’s test for use with new Common Core math and language [...]

The Florida Education Stories To Watch In 2014

12-30 2014Calendar

Implementing New Common Core Standards Florida is one of 45 states that have fully adopted new math, English and literacy standards known as Common Core. Political opposition to the standards built throughout the year in both Florida and across the country. Every Florida grade is scheduled to switch to the new standards this fall. The [...]

The Biggest Florida Education Stories of 2013

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is under criticism resigned his post on August 1. Pam Stewart was chosen to replace Bennett.

Here’s our pick for the biggest education stories of 2013 — a few of which will likely dominate 2014 as well. Tony Bennett’s Resignation Bennett came to Florida in January with a reputation as a rising star among self-proclaimed education reformers and a leading voice for the Common Core English, literacy and math standards fully [...]

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